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MY GARDEN IN THE 
CITY OF GARDENS 



iL 



MY GARDEN IN THE 
CITY OF GARDENS 

A KlEMORY a^ WITH ILLUSTRATIONS 



JOHN LANE . THE BODLEY HEAD 
LONDON & NEW YORK . MDCCCCV 



WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LTD., LONDON AND BBCCLBS. 



ii 



V-; To Him who made^ 

\ * and 

y^ Her who plafd 

\ tn 

(V ^SMy Garden 

\ 



^ 



" Nunc Jbrtunatus sum 



>> 



Despatch of Major Uu Horn, J, Dormer, A.D. C. , 
to Sir CoUn Campbell after the relief of Luchnom 






CONTENTS 

PAGS 

October i 

November 21 

December . . ... . . • ^7 

January 129 

February ........ 177 

March 193 

April 217 

May 245 

June ......... 267 



Vll 



ma^^ 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



The City of Gardens. From the Residency 

Garden Frontispiece 



Belinda's Garden .... 

In the Residency Garden . 

"And ever over the topmost roof 
The Banner of England blew." 

Denizens of my Garden. Christmas Day 



" Seek Roses in December^ Ice in June 

In Cesar's Garden 

The Hosein-a-bad Garden . 

A Grand Garden 

In the Park of the Martiniere 



9> 



TO FACB PAGB 
46 

. 88 



120 
122 
. 182 
. 202 
. 208 
. 238 



IX 



OCTOBER 

" A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot I 
Rose plot. 
Fringed pool, 
Fem'd grot — 
The veriest school 
Of Peace j and yet the fool 
Contends that God is not — 
Not God ! In gardens, when the Eve is cool ? 
Nay, but I have a sign ; 
'Tis very sure God walks in mine." 



OCTOBER 




AM writing in my high-raised verandah. 
Thence, eagle-eyed, I can oversee the 
scantily draped mahogany figure — 

** Old Adam^s likeness, 
Set to dress this garden,*^ 

and suppress any unlawful sneaking off, at 
other than stated hours, to " eat bread,** or to 
indulge in the clandestine snooze by the well, 
or in the hubble-bubble in the plantain-shade, 
on the part of my mallu 

For us. Westerns, the Indian year has, as it 
were, begun. Life is once more endurable ; the 
rains and the hot winds have ceased. Lucky 
folk have been driven by the early frosts down 
from " the hills." Luckier folk are back from 
** leave home." One's social existence is posi- 
tively sprouting with new conversational crops, 
sown of contact with Western worlds, or with 
dignitaries in " high places." Life is no longer 
bounded by " the station." 

Scotched for awhile are the fever and the 
cholera fiends. Punkahs are put away, and 
their pullers have returned to their native 

3 B a 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

"Ullages to enjoy a well-earned affluence. The 
mosquito nets are folded by ; open wide all day 
stands the many-doored bungalow. Only on 
the sunny side of the house do I dose the green 
shutters at noontide, and the drawing-room 
does not rise above 76°* I play tennis from 
seven to eight in the mornings, and drive in the 
evening in a coat, for the early and late hours 
are foggy and chill. 

" Paget, M.P.," has landed at Bombay, and 
has travelled up-country as far as the Taj. 
I warrant he is writing home how delicious is 
the climate of India, and girding at us because 
we " thought scorn of that pleasant land ! " 

A present the Wild Man of the Woods has 
brought me back from Kashmir makes me 
feel quite English-autumnal — namely, a mauna 
(eighty pounds) of wild walnuts from the forests. 

At this time of year my verandah serves me 
for a drawing-room. Between each pillar it is 
enclosed with bamboo trellis, calledy^j^' work. 
This answers the twofold purpose of tempering 
the outside glare to the rooms within, and of 
supporting the creepers, which are now rapidly 
running up and clothing it from the beds below. 
Inside, against the wall of the house-, stand 
flower-pots on stages, wherein flourish palms 
and ferns, and my English seedlings, coming on 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

fast. But it is a case of Darwinian survival. 
Most of the seeds sent out to me weeks ago, in 
tins, arrived mildewy and spoilt. 

The verandah is spread with Chinese matting 
and littered with armchairs. India is the land 
of loll. There are chairs for each sex and size 
— ^long bamboo couch chairs ; small grass chairs, 
cretonne-clad, corresponding to wicker ones in 
England ; heavy, dark teak, or mahogany chairs, 
with wide cane seat and tall curling backs, 
monsters, with great flat wooden arms splayed 
out to receive the Sahib's extended legs when 
he is aweary, and with a hole in them to con- 
tain his peg tumbler when he is a-thirst. 

The verandah is full of life — captive and 
free. In a cage ringdoves coo a soft drone to 
the hoarse and discordant quartette of parrots, 
perched on iron rings hanging from the roof- 
green, scarlet, and plum, dabs of brilliant colour 
against the prevailing greenery. 

Captive, behind trellis-work at the end of the 
verandah, stalk the dignified white paddy birds, 
" blind idiots," the Tamils call them. Happily 
they are also practically dumb. 

My little chitel (spotted deer), a dainty pet, is 
tethered to a tree just below the verandah, 
where he inhabits a little bamboo shed. He 
bleats a little, when the sweeper, who feeds all 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the pets, brings him his handful of gram and 
grass. 

Of wild life, squirrels haunt my verandah — 
palm squirrels clad in thick grey fur trimmed 
round with darker rings and stripes. They 
carry an important bottle-brush ringed tail, and 
do a great deal of talking with it amongst them- 
selves. I like their dear little trick of cleaning 
their inquisitive little faces and beady black eyes 
with their tiny hands. 

*' The squirrel is ubiquitous, inquisitive, predatory. 
Oft scared, as oft returns, a most voracious kind/^ 

Failing to find any crumbs in the corner of the 
verandah where I eat my " little breakfast " at 
seven, he raids the dessert on the dining-room 
sideboard, flashing about, with a cheep and a 
pipe, like a streak of grey lightning, always j ust 
out of arms' length. The trap to catch him 
has yet to be invented. 

The " vagrant emmet," black and white, is 
always with me in the verandah. She uses it 
as a base, " the parsimonious emmet," and 

'< Her foresight and intelligence that make 
The tiny creatures strong by mutual league," 

render her a domestic danger. Did not the 
sweeper keep a sharp look-out the white ants, 
with trains of earth-heaps, would sap through 

6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the ever-open window-doors into the rooms, 
and stealthily demolish the pictures on the walls 
and the books on the tables. For anything 
literary or pictorial seems peculiarly to appeal 
to the white ant. His black cousin infests the 
verandah, but is less destructive; 

In the short, short twilight, when the sun, a 
crimson ball, has sunk behind the mango grove 
which edges the. parade ground and bounds 
life on the west, other and less pleasant life 
pervades the verandah. Mingling with the 
hum of voices from the servants' houses, where 
they are cooking their evening meal over the 
cow-dung fire which odorizes the heavy air, 
rising above the distant tootle from the band- 
stand in the Prophet's Garden, comes the 
ominous baritone obligato-recitative as — 

, " With drowsy song. 
The grey fly wound his sullen horn along." 

Little recked Kirke White, however, of the 
Indian mosquito. Milton was nearer the mark 
with his — 

*< Grey fly winds her sultry horn." 

But both sang of, to them, " far-off unhappy 
things." 

The mosquito is the price I pay for my 
bravery of greenery and colour in the verandah. 

7 



My Garden in the City of Gnrdens 

So comes it that I inhabit it chiefly at early 
morn, and at noonday. 

Other and divers plagues haunt it in the 
dusk and dark. In the roof dwell rats and 
bandicoots. Their hurry-scurry wakes me o' 
nights. I can protect my edibles against their 
depredations, but I am powerless to dislodge 
them from their lofty fastness. 

Occasionally, horror of horrors, a musk rat 
flits through the dining-room. Behind him he 
leaves an awful and enduring stench — worse 
than any oil-car. I can track him to the side- 
board, where he sniffed round the biscuit tin. 
It is days ere I can quite obliterate that visit ! 

Hitherto I have noticed no gentle little 
mongoose come sniffing inquisitively about the 
verandah. Such a caller would alarm me. 
Quiet little creature that he is, so easily made a 
pety the mongoose comes seeking for snakes I 
With the utmost courage and ingenuity, he 
deftly administers one snap on their skulls, 
which ends their career. I have no wish for 
him to find my verandah a happy hunting- 
ground for craits and cobras. 

Jumping off my horse last evening on to the 
verandah steps, I nearly trod on a toad — a dark 
toad, with the erect head and peculiar agility 
which seems to me to mark the Indian species. 

8 



J 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

He evidently appreciated the cool and the damp 
and the insect life under the flower-stands. 
But I must admonish the sweeper. For snakes 
come in quest of toads — to eat them. 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



A DEAD level of an acre or two, my 
garden is approached by a gateless 
aperture in the bank which sur- 
rounds it, to the road. On the 
bank grows a hedge of phulaea. Acacia ntodesta^ 
of Agave americanay and of aloes. One gate- 
post, for the guidance of callers, bears our name- 
board. The drive circles round a group of 
shrubs to the verandah steps. To the left lies 
the garden proper. Close up to my bedroom 
verandah the orange trees grow thick. Here 
the chitel has his home, and here have I made 
a tiny pool, under the orange shade, edged with 
ferns, for this is the cool side of the house. 
Already the big bull frogs have found it out, 
and are quite garrulous about its charms. 

" The croaking of frogs," said Luther, " edi- 
fieth nothing at all. It is mere sophistry and 
fruidess." He really might have been re- 
ferring to the exponents of some of the new 
" isms " of nowadays. 

A straight path leads from the drive through 
the garden. Under the largest lives Bunda, 
the pet (?) monkey, his home, a box. He is 
chained to the trunk, and delights in springing 
out at the unwary skirt passing by. 

I have laid out the garden severely in square 



lO 



My* Garden in the City of Gardens 

sunken beds. Of lawn there is not a trace. 
Smoothed dry mud takes its place. Such ex- 
pensive luxuries as grass plots pertain only to the 
high functionaries who dwell more permanently 
than ourselves in Government Houses and the 
like. Round each bed, and up and down 
each side of the walk, runs a tiny watercourse, 
down which, each morn and eve, the water 
flows from the well. The gardener goes round 
with his spade, opens the little embankment, 
^d floods each bed in turn. 

Beyond, in the corner of the compound, 
near the vegetable beds, is the well — the heart, 
thd life-source of my garden. Morning and 
evening the great cream-coloured humped 
bullocks labour up and down an inclined plane, 
drawing up the water in a kind of square bag 
made of the skin of one of their deceased rela- 
tives, and hanging on an iron ring, and which 
the gardener upsets into the main runnel. 
Grouped around the well, to imbibe every 
particle of moisture, grow the broad-leaved 
plantains — bananas we call them in Covent 
Garden and on the coster barrows — ^mysterious, 
with clusters of spiky fruit, which make such 
excellent fritters. 

Feathering round the well, too, waves the 
bamboo — the wonder fril bamboo — which flowers 

II 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

but once in thirty years, and when it has 
flowered, dies, attracting to its funeral feast all 
the fowls of the air, a babd of revellers, 
showering about them, as they perch, the ripened 
grain, on rodents and on monkeys, and, in wild 
jungle parts, even on the wild boar and the 
deer. 

Where there is a perpetual slop, from the 
emptying of the bullock-skin, have I planted a 
pearl of great price — a watercress bed. With 
much care I can keep it going aU the coM 
weather. How, out here, one prizes the 
common things of everyday " home " life ! 

On the cool side of the house I am tendfng, 
with immense difficulty, a trellised vine, which, 
in June, I hope, may produce some grapes, for 
is it not manured with bullocks' blood from the 
slaughter-house I Just now, however, I am buy- 
ing grapes for dessert, delicious, stondess mus- 
cats, neatly packed singly in cotton wool in small 
wood boxes, which are brought down from 
Turkistan, the land of the vine, by sheepskin- 
clad Afghan horse-dealers, along with Persian 
pussy-cats and Cabooli mares. The winter the 
Captain Sahib spent in Khandahar, -he relates 
how they had thirteen different sorts of grapes 
on his mess-table for breakfast. The stone- 
lessness of these Cabool grapes is artificial. 

12 



My wGarden in the City of Gwrdens 

An incision about eight inches long is cut in 
the wood of the trained vines, the pith is re- 
moved, and the wood bound up again, with the 
result that the grapes are stoneless. 

Beyond the pergola are fruit trees — ^guavas, 
mango, oranges, and, here and there, an aloe, 
tall, prickly, chary of its yellow-white blooms, 
a plant to be respected if not admired. "Adam's 
needle" is the old English name, for it is 
traditionally reputed to have been used by 
Adam in his earliest sartorial efforts. 



13 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THIS is a busy month in the garden. 
The rains have long ceased, and the 
well-watered world is bursting into 
bloom. 1 have been sowing my 
cold-weather seeds, and have got my pansies, 
mignonette, and stocks in early. 

My geranium plants in pots, which Ida 
kindly summered for me in the hills, have 
returned to me after an adventurous journey 
by train, buUock-cart, and coolie head, over 
plain and river and mountain, safe and sound, 
but much overgrown. There have been the 
cuttings to take, and to set out in new, rich 
earth, and the old straggling plants to cut back. 
They have done well, but they cannot stand a 
hot weather in the plains. The single and 
double scarlet, the pink, salmony-white, and 
the ivy-leaved, have done best. 

I have had the chrysanthemums repotted 
and well watered with liquid manure. In the 
verandah the pots of petunias, verbenas, and 
pinks have been crying aloud for new habita- 
tions and fresh earth. I find a mixture of old 
stable litter and good leaf mould the best for 
the chrysanthemums. The large pots have 
got so washed out with the rains. 

In the kitchen garden the gardener has been 



Hdy Garden in the City of Gardens 

busy sowing his succession of cold-weather 
vegetables, beginning early with his first peas, 
and sowing the herbs — thyme, etc. — which one 
missed so during the hot weather. 

Glorious is the wealth of colour in tree 
and shrub and creeper now. The Hibiscus 
mutdbilis^ twenty feet high, has covered itself 
all over with large pink-and-white blooms, 
exactly like paper flowers I The Bauhinia accu- 
minata is graceful, with its pendulous branches 
of pointed divided leaves, with their large 
loose panicles of whitish and pale pink. The 
BuddleiaSy with their orange bells, are rampant. 
So are the Lautanas. About the stone pillars 
and jafri work of the verandah are clamber- 
ing the bila bil Jasmine ; the white-flowered 
Bona NoXy or "Evening Glory" Ipomea; the 
Ipomea grandiflora^ and the Passiflora carukay 
the handsome blue passion flower ; the scarlet 
cypress vine {Quamoclii) ; the star Ipomea 
{coccinea)y a blaze of scarlet ; the lilac Railway 
creeper (Pulchella)y and the blue-and-white 
Limbata. 

The bougainvillas we have always with us 
in flower. Some eight feet high, thriving in 
the very eye of the sun, this shrub forms 
an eflFective, if rather vulgar, mass of colour, 
maroony purple, against the dark green of 

IS 



My Crarden in the City of Crordens 



the orange trees. 1 have three kinds, the 
B. splendenSj the very handsome B. spectabilisy 
and the B. glabra^ magenta and pale pink. 

I am fond of the bougainvillas, not only for 
their gift of colour, but also for their associa- 
tion's sake. I like to think of the intrepid 
soldier, sailor, explorer, and author, whose name 
they bear, given in his honour by Commerson, 
the navigator, on his voyage round the world. 
A gallant specimen he of the old noblesse, 
Montcalm's trusted lieutenant, and the diarist 
of his campaigns against the English in the 
New World. It was De Bougainville who was 
twice sent by Montcalm to offer terms to the 
luckless Munro before the attack on Fort 
William Henry ; it was De Bougainville who 
tried to prevent the awful massacre of the 
prisoners by the Indians that ensued. He was 
wounded at Abercromby's disastrous muddle of 
Ticonderoga. When the tide turned against 
the French, and they were driven to bay in 
Canada, De Bougainville was sent by Montcalm 
to hold the point Cap Rouge, where ended the 
seven miles of cliff which made Quebec im- 
pregnable. There he entrenched himself and 
remained, unaware that Wolfe had stealthily 
climbed to the Heights of Abraham. Mont- 
calm expected help from his faithful De 

i6 



J 



^My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Bougainville, but the 48th held the latter in 
check, and in ignorance of the disaster which was 
befalling his general. For five days De Bou- 
gainville lay like a watch-dog at the post 
assigned him, for five days after Montcalm's 
defeat and death. Then L6vis, coming round 
with troops, picked him up, but only when 
within fifteen miles of Quebec did they hear 
that it had fallen. A year later De Bougainville 
stood as a prisoner of war on the Island of 
Montreal, the Canadas lost to France. He 
was only thirty, but his fighting days were over. 
He took to sailoring, commanded the La 
Boudeuse frigate, and for four years went round 
the world, surveying and exploring ; wrote a 
book about it, and became a great traveller. 

I have discovered a good way of propagating 
the bougainvillas. I cut a flower-pot in half, fill 
it with earth, and fix it round a branch. After 
a while the branch forms roots in the pot, and 
then I cut it ofiF below the pot, take it out, 
and, behold ! a young plant. 

As regards the colouring of the bougainvilla, 
it may be mentioned that it is the leaves, not 
the flowers, which give it its glorious hues. 

The drawing-room is now gay with balsams, 
asters, nasturtiums, and chrysanthemums. 
These I arrange myself, as the native gardener's 

17 c 




My Garden in the City of Gardens 

^ idea of a bouquet is too stiff for words. It 
would appear incredible that any one could 
arrange nasturtiums formally ; yet the maUt 
contrives to do it. No flower lends itself so 
\^ easily to artistic treatment — ^and then its colour, 
' \ and the variety of its hue 1 It is an old, old 
"Bower in gardens of England. This is what 
they found to write about it, what time they 
were busy beheading their king 1 

" Nasturces," says the " Compleat Gardiner " 
of 1 649, " the Leaf of it is pretty large, and 
the Flower of an Orange Colour ; the figure of 
the seed is a little pyramidical divided by ribs^ 
having all its superficies engraven, and wrought 
all over, being of a gray colour inclined to light." 

It is pleasant to think that in that year in 
England there lived placid souls who could 
think of their gardens 1 

My balsams are very fine. ** July," says old 
Parkinson, apothecary and King's Herbist, 
writing in 1 640, " doth glory in the Balsam." 

But here October. Raised from English 
seed the climate seems to suit them wondrously. 
Indeed, the balsam came originally from the 
Indies in the sixteenth century. 

The Wild Man of the Woods arrived to 
call the other morning, clad in his latest Picca- 
dilly suit. As he passed through the verandah 

18 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

he glanced at my balsams, and vouchsafed the 
remark that these were the flowers bears got 
drunk on. 

For a moment I could recollect no dipso- 
mania tendencies on the part of the ursine 
tribe, or predilection for aught save the porridge, 
of which the Three — in the legend that Some 
one is never tired of hearing told — so lamented 
the untoward disappearance. But this was 
the Wild Man's story. 

Shooting once in a high, little-known valley 
under the Nanda Devi range, he had nearly lost 
his cook by a bear in a wild balsam crop. It 
was the Balsamia impatiens^ which grows eight 
feet high round camping-places of the Tibetan 
sheep and goat caravans. The seeds are like 
grain, and fly open when the pods are touched. 
Hence the name, impatiens. The natives, it 
seems, are partial to them, and get shockingly 
drugged. On this occasion the Wild Man's 
cook, a Mussulman from the plains, with a 
holy horror of the hills and of wild beasts, lost 
the track. He was groping his way through a 
high balsam patch, when he suddenly found 
himself in the arms of a huge black bear with 
the white horseshoe mark on his chest. Happily 
Ursus Major was too befuddled to hurt him, 
and the chef^^ en itait quitte pour la peur." 

19 



NOVEMBER 

'* This pleasure garden, where the sun 
Is baffled, by the boughs that weave 
Their shade." 



NOVEMBER 



IT is deliciously cool all day now ! A 
lovely breeze blows through the open 
house, and the sun is really only 
oppressively powerful for four hours. 
1 am out-of-doors all day, and have had to 
give up washing dresses, and have started a 
blanket at night. 

I have been busy sowing my nemophila 
seed ; they are so effective, and I am trying to 
keep up successive sowings from the rainy 
season till the middle of December. They are 
a good deal of trouble, but they well repay it. 

" Blot," my white terrier, is dead. Of pure 
and ancient English pedigree, though of Indian 
birth, he was very good to look upon, and 
sweet to know. But, alas ! the hot weather 
and the climate generally has proved too much 
for him. After ailing some weeks of liver, he 
has died — young. 

Four different kinds of vegetables for dinner 
last night were a welcome sign that the cold 
weather has really set in. They were cauli- 
idowers, turnips, carrots, and asparagus. We 
might have had brinjaky too, and ladies' fingers, 

«3 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

but one is a little tired of them, as they are with 
us all the hot weather and the rains. The 
brinjal is the egg-fruit, of dark green exterior 
and pulpy within. It is boiled, split open, and 
fried in breadcrumbs, and only the inside is 
eaten. Ladies* fingers are insipid and uninterest- 
ing, a pis alter in the rains. They take their 
name from their shape, and are very succulent. 



«4 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



V 

TWO evenings ago we went for a 
drive round by the Botanical Gar- 
dens. These lie in an immense" 
stretch of ornamental grass, care- 
fully watered and forested, behind the Civil 
Lines. After the Third Relief, the native city, 
which was some twenty miles in circumference, 
was much demolished and reduced, and the 
environs laid out in drives with trees. 

In the midst of the gardens rises a square 
white marble summer-house, with flights of 
steps. It was brought from the great palace. 
" Caesar's Garden," is called a biradariy and is 
a fine specimen of Moghul architecture. The 
tesselated floor is excellent for dancing. Round 
the biradari was some good ribbon-gardening, 
with the beds intersected with tiny gravel paths* 
The verbenas, nasturtiums, and heart's-ease 
I thought very good, but the geraniums 
inferior. 

The roses were coming out in the little set 
garden, trailing over the jafri work and in 
the hedges, luxuriant, glowing, a vision of 
beauty, the real flower of the East, in the cold 
weather. For a rose cannot stand the tropical 
sun. 

25 



My Garden in the « City of Gardens 

I always think of the Roumanian legend^ 
how the sun, surprising a lovely princess at 
her morning dip in the sea, kissed her, and 
twice forgot to move on. Night,, advanc- 
ing, found him in her way. Since then the 
sun changed the princess into a rose. And 
that is why the rose always hangs her head 
and blushes when the sun gazes down upon 
her. 

Down here, in the plains, the rose blooms 
only in gardens, carefully tended. In the 
Himalayas it is wild. 

On our way home we looked in at the Gar- 
den of Alexandra. Once a palace of Wajid Ali 
Shah, built for a favourite Mahal, it is now a 
ruin, enclosed in a high wall, which was care- 
fully loopholed and strongly held by the rebels 
in November, 1857. It was gallantly captured 
by Captain Wolseley*s company of the 90th, the 
93rd Highlanders, and the 4th Punjaub Rifles. 
The inside, gloomy enough in appearance and 
in memories — for in the courtyard some two 
thousand mutineers were cut to pieces — this 
November afternoon was a glory of beautiful 
gardening, as are all the Lakhnao ruins. A 
brilliant plumbago hedge in full bloom ran 
along the road under the breached and battered 
walls, which were all aglow with purple and 

t6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

yellow and scarlet — bougainvilla, alamanda, 
and convolvolus. 

Driving home it turned quite chilly, and I 
was glad to put on a coat between five and six. 
The drawing-room was only yS"" all day. 



a? 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THE snipe have come in ! The 
Captain Sahib and his brother 
shikaris are as excited as I am 
when the English mail arrives. 
The annual advent to these climes of the 
dainty little long-billed brown bird sends a 
flutter through their weidmann breasts. Most 
mysterious is this migration of the snipe. No 
one yet seems to have probed their goings and 
their comings — ^whence they are and whither 
wending. In the jhils of Northern India, on 
the bogs of Ireland, and in the swamps of 
Australia, they appear early in November — that 
is to say, at the beginning of winter in one 
hemisphere, and at the beginning of summer 
in the other. Moreover, the Indian snipe is 
more erratic still. He comes to Southern India 
in September while it is still very hot. The 
mystery is, where are the snipe between May 
and September, and why do they annually 
wing away to other climes ? No one has yet 
satisfactorily given an account of their migra- 
tions. Alone the lighthousemen in the oceans 
mark their flight. 

Directly the glad news about the snipe 
reached the Captain Sahib he promptly made 
arrangements, under Khoodha Bux's auspices, 

28 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

m 
^ 

with Our Paddy to shoot the Red Road Jhil 
on the morrow. I was to be allowed to come 
too and ride about with them, provided I made 
myself unobtrusive. Khoodha Bux was in 
command. He is the shikariy shared between 
Our Paddy and the Captain Sahib, a wiry, thin, 
active young fellow, with the eye and the keen- 
ness of a hawk, and considerable wood-craft (if, 
indeed, one may so call it in a land where the 
sport is not all in forests), and in all matters 
pertaining to sport their guide, philosopher, and 
friend. 

We drove out in the early, early morning. 
The air was chill, and I was glad of a coat 
over my habit. " Reveilld " was sounding in 
barracks, but no one seemed awake except a 
crow or two cawing sleepily on the roof. 
Even the old chokedar^ our private policeman, 
retained to keep watch and ward over our 
demesne, had evidently only just aroused 
from his illicit slumbtrs in a corner of the 
verandah. 

A few natives, shrouded like corpses in their 
blankets, were iBitting down the Mall in the 
morning mist ; a jackal stole across the road 
going home to bed. But, once outside canton- 
ments, and on the straight, white, tree-bordered 
road, we were perpetually being blocked by 

29 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

trains of bullock-carts rumbling into the rail- 
way laden with bales of cotton. As the drivers, 
perched on the top of their loads, were mostly 
asleep, well wrapped about the head with their 
blankets, there was always a delay ere they 
could be induced to turn their slow bullocks 
out of the road into the deep dust, to let us 
pass. 

After a monotonous drive of some six miles, 
we came suddenly upon Khoodha Bux squat- 
ting in the dust, looking somewhat cold, and 
surrounded by a ring of half a dozen shrouded 
coolies, the beaters, my pony standing near. 

But the growing light revealed yet another 
unexpected object. Further down the road, 
drawn up in the dust, the ponies taken out, 
stood nothing more nor less than a ddk gharry^ 
the common cab of Lakhnao. What was it 
doing there ? 

Khoodha Bux explained the mystery, with 
the nearest approach to mirth he ever permits 
himself. The ddk gharry contained the forms 
of two sahibs, full length, well wrapped up, 
sleeping comfortably. When it transpired that 
these were none other than the Sporting Boy 
in the " Arden Foresters," and his friend, our 
latest Globe Trotter, the unholy joy of the 
Captain Sahib and Our Paddy knew no bounds. 

30 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

G>me out to shoot thtjhily had they ? Pity to 
start overnight and then oversleep yourself I 
Now to be beforehand with them 1 

I mounted, the others took their guns, and 
we silently stole away — over fields of low 
green ddk bushes and carefully tilled patches 
of rising corn, and skirting crops of millet 
and sugar-cane, to a sun-baked plain. There, 
across the horizon, as far as eye could see, 
stretching in a long serpentine line, lay a 
tangled mixture of mud and morass, or swamp 
and sedge, with islands of thorn-bushes and 
clumps of high grass. But the monsoon last 
season was only partial, and, once outside the 
zone of river irrigation, it was sad to see how 
the crops have failed* The jhil had shrunk to 
half its size. 

The solemnities now began. Khoodha Bux 
evoked from the rear the six coolies who had 
been stalking lugubriously behind us wrapped 
in dirty cotton sheets, and who, unshrouding 
themselves, formed line, the Captain Sahib and 
Our Paddy at either end, and started beating 
down the sedge and water on the edge of the 
swamf). 

Mindful of my orders to be unobtrusive, 
I rode at a little distance on terra firma^ and 
kept somewhat behind. The sun was now well 

31 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

up and beginning to make itself felt ; the air 
was dead still. Suddenly, from out of a tussock 
of grass in front, rose, with a wild screech like 
an unoiled lock, a ridiculously small bird. He 
rose, I say, but instead of flying fair and straight, 
he made three distinct twists. It seemed to me 
that one might just as well try and fire at a 
flash of forked lightning. 

Bang ! With a subdued twitter it flew on, 
but slowly and straight. The next minute it 
fell dead, and a coolie promptly retrieved it out 
of the water. I felt proud of my countrymen I 

There was no manner of doubt that the 
snipe were in. They rose, now in wisps of 
four and five, like a rocket, and scattering like 
fireworks, now singly — ^at the Captain Sahib*s 
very feet, as he and his companion slushed 
along through the swamp — now altogether out 
of shot. The game-stick in which the spoil 
dangled by their heads grew more and more 
crowded. 

And so I rode on in the sunshine, watching 
the sport till the heat grew too much for me, 
and I turned into a clump of trees a little 
above the swamp, where, owing to Khoodha 
Bux's conjuring, a coolie, armed with the 
breakfast basket, had suddenly hove in sight. 
Likewise, in the magical way they have, my 

3a 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

own groom had suddenly appeared. So I dis- 
mounted, and presendy the others joined me. 
A pretty bag, thirty-five couple of snipe, once 
up Xht jhil; and some twenty jacks, as they 
returned down it. Dainty mites these jacks ; 
some people will have it they are a different 
kind of snipe. The bag contained also some 
painted snipe. These are, indeed, another 
species, not so good to eat, being rank, but 
the cock wears exceedingly beautiful feathers. 
As we sat down to breakfast the Captain Sahib 
skinned a cock, and I am to have the feathers 
to send home for Someone*s hat. 

We had hardly begun on the inevitable 
tinned bacon (no one eats the pork of the 
country, for reasons better left ungiven) when 
down upon us bore the occupants of the ddk 
gharry^ not quite in the best of tempers at 
having been forestalled. After we had hoped 
that they had had a good night of it, they 
unfolded a sad tale. Straight from the bridge 
table at the Club had they come, not to lose 
any of the precious morning hours — and this 
was their reward ! We showed them our bag, 
which seemed to bring them little comfort, and 
then we preached proverbs at them. It is not 
the early bird, etc. 



33 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



WE have had our first green peas 
for dinner to-day, and very good 
they were. A small boy has 
been hired at an infinitesimal 
wage to reside permanently either on, or under, 
the guava and orange trees, and to attend to the 
pea's preservation. For the marauders are so 
many. There are the green parrots, a shrieking 
flock, flitting across the garden en ichehn — z, 
streak of emerald lightning. The writer of the 
Mahabharata excluded green parrots from an 
ideal country. "There are," says he, "no 
parrots there to eat up the grain." 

Then there are the crows, Michael Drayton's 
" envious crow." Solitary, dignified, of infinite 
cunning, according to the Ettrick Shepherd, they 
are " down in the devil's book in round hand." 
By raids among the vegetables they contrive to 
vary a carnivorous diet sustained by lurking at 
the pantry door, or hovering in wait for the 
oblivious cook-boy who bears the dishes from 
the kitchen-house to the dining-room verandah. 
There are the mynas — a kind of starling with 
orange lobes over the ears and a yellow beak- 
silent, when at work among the peas, but with 
wonderfully human voices when they do speak. 
There are the Seven Sisters, a sad-coloured 

34 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

troop, addicted to sitting in rows on a 
branch, as noisy as the mynas are dumb. 

Last, and least, are the sparrows. "The 
sparrow," says Martin Luther in his " CoUoquia 
Mensalia," " is a most voracious animal, and 
does great harm to the crops. The Hebrews 
call it * tschirp,* and it should be killed wherever 
found." But there's the rub. The sparrow 
no more heeds the hurled boot in the bedroom, 
or the book in the verandah, than he does the 
pellet-bow of the pea-boy in the garden. 



35 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



MY back verandah has been like a 
butcher*s shop. I wonder what 
my poor demure violets in their 
pots there thought of it all ? For 
the Captain, by way of an amende honorable^ has 
been showing the Sporting Boy in the Arden 
Foresters, and his friend the Globe Trotter, 
how to skin and stuff a couple of painted snipe 
from yesterday's bag. The Captain Sahib is 
nothing if not a taxidermist, and perhaps his 
methods, the outcome of much experience and 
practice, may be worth jotting down here. 

If you want to stuff a bird, you must be 
careful not to shoot it with too large a size 
charge, or it will be crushed to a jelly, and the 
skin not worth using. If it is only wounded, 
press the breast-bone with finger and thumb till 
it is dead. Then push a piece of cotton wool 
down the throat, a piece of thread through the 
nose just above the beak, and make a loop to 
hold it by. If you find any small wounds, plug 
them carefully with cotton wool, lest the blood 
should stain the feathers. If any are blood- 
stained, pull them out here and there, and smooth 
all the plumage down carefully. When the 
bird is brought safely home, you must make up 
you mind as to whether it should be slit down 

36 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the back, or down the breast, or as to whether, 
in the case of a large-headed bird, a small cut 
should be made in the throat to skin the head 
through. The Captain Sahib's implements are 
few, but to the point, in every sense of the 
word — a couple of dissecting-knives with celt 
handles, a pair of pointed scissors, a large fish- 
hook, and a small gouge for the eyes, being all 
he requires for the skinning process. For setting- 
up he uses a file, to give the wires a sharp point, 
and a pair of compasses to measure the body. 

The bird should be placed on its back, and 
cut open from the top of the breast-bone to 
within a short distance of the vent. But if the 
specimen is one remarkable for the beauty of its 
brea^ plumage the process should be reversed. 
The wing-bones should then be broken under 
the wings, and the bird's skin be removed with 
the celt handle of the knife, sprinkling the skin 
as you go with a powder of wood-ash, plaster 
of Paris, or flour. 

(Here let me explain that the term celt applied 
to a handle is derived from the prehistoric 
flint implements dug up in ancient barrows or 
tumuli in Europe, and which, being necessarily 
blunt, have given their names to the blunt bone 
handles of dissecting-knives.) 

If possible, get another person to hold the 

37 



My €rarden in the City of Gardens 

II n il. .11.11 1^ I III 

bird while you are skinning it, by means of a 
fish-hook run through the breast-bone, or you 
can tie the hook to the wall. The neck must 
be cut through, and likewise the wings where 
they are broken, and the top joints of the legs. 
Great care must be used in drawing off the skin 
down the back, as it is very frequently the most 
delicate place. 

When the head is very much larger than the 
neck, to remove it, cut the throat lengthways. 
It is immaterial if the eyes are taken out before 
the head is skinned, or after, but push the gouge 
well into the back of the eye to separate the 
ligament which holds it to the socket. But 
take care that the gouge does not penetrate the 
eye, or it will let out the fluid, which often 
damages the skin. Some people crush the skull 
slightly to make it come out of the skin more 
easily, but the Captain Sahib is averse to that 
proceeding. Remove the brains by taking a 
piece out of the skull at the back as the neck is 
cut off. Pull the eyes out of their cavities, and 
fill up the places with cotton wool soaked in 
arsenical soap. The skin of head and neck 
should be thoroughly anointed with arsenical 
soap, a piece of stick covered with wool be 
placed in the neck, the end of it put in the hole 
made in the skull for extracting the brains. 

38 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Remove the flesh from the wings as far as 
you can skin. When you have removed the 
body, to finish the wings, cut them open from 
the outside under the large wing feathers, which 
be careful not to detach from the large bone. 
Remove all the meat most carefully, and anoint 
the wings with arsenical soap. 

Skin the legs as far down as you can, remove 
the flesh, anoint the skin with arsenical soap, 
and cover them with paper to prevent them 
damaging the skin. The feet can be left alone, 
unless they are very large, when they should be 
cut into and anointed. 

If the tail and beak be that of a very large 
bird, like a peacock, they should be well covered 
with wood-ash, and scraped till as much of the 
fat as will come away has been removed. Then 
they should be freely anointed with arsenical 
soap, the body filled with wool and paper, not 
too full, and closed with a couple of stitches 
across the breast. The feathers should be 
smoothed, and the bird left in a dry place for 
a day or two before packing. It should be 
well wrapped in paper for packing. 

Thus far the skin of a bird, as in this case 
the dainty little painted snipe, which the 
Sporting Boy in the Arden Foresters is wishful 
to send home to his own, or some one else's 

39 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

» 

sister. In the Captain Sahib's practised hands 
the process for the little snipe has not taken 
many minutes. In this way he has sent home 
cured, to be " set up " in England, the lordly 
peacock, now figuring as a fire-screen ; a whole 
black partridge, the kind with the white spots, 
which Someone is wearing as a hat ; many little 
humming birds, all tail and beak, most tricky 
and tiresome little creatures to manipulate ; and 
even a few striped squirrels, whose bushy tails, 
however, suflFered somewhat from the long 
confinement in the packing. 

Occasionally, however, the Captain Sahib 
" sets up " his own birds, when wishful to pre- 
serve for himself some special trophy. One 
morning, going out shooting early, he passed a 
tall and stately Tantalus leucopha {nimtner satt^ in 
German) standing on one leg in a pool, fishing 
with its long yellow beak. He secured it, its 
glossy white feathers, tipped with black at the 
wings, and flecked with rose colour, uninjured. 
It now stands in my drawing-room, holding a 
lamp, a triumph of taxidermic art. 

The process of setting up is as follows : The 
skin can lie by for years if properly cured. If, 
however, it is taken in hand at once, the body 
and the neck taken out of the bird will serve 
as a model. The former is copied in tow wound 

40 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

round with cotton. Through this is run a piece 
of sharp-pointed wire bent over and fastened at 
the tail end. It protrudes beyond the body, is 
wrapped round with tow or wool to imitate the 
neck, and run up the latter, from which the 
stick has been removed. The point is run 
through the skull, bent back, and made fast. 

A sharpened wire is run up each leg inside, 
starting from beneath the foot, and stuck in 
the body, where it is doubled back. But take 
care that these wires are exactly in the centre 
of the body, or the legs will appear too far 
back. 

The body and neck of the bird are now 
stuffed, but form a straight line. After sewing 
up the breast or back with a few stitches, with 
the following manipulation give the right curve 
to the neck. Bending it back at a little more 
than a right angle to the body, press with the 
thumb where the neck joins the body. Then 
again press with the thumb at the back of the 
neck, and with the other hand pull the neck 
forward again. This will give the desired grace- 
ful curve. 

In a small piece of board drill two holes in 
the position in which you wish the feet to be. 
Run the wires of the feet through them, turn 
them back, and fix them. Push the body 

41 



My Crarden in the City of Gardens 

slighdy backwards, and at the same time bend 
the legs at the joints. But if the bird is to be 
set flying, the legs should not be bent, but run 
straight out parallel to the body. 

On the position of the bird must also appear 
that of the wings. If it is flying they must be 
kept stretched out by a wire run through under- 
neath them horizontally, catching each individual 
feather. If the wings are closed, needle-points 
are enough to pin them through to the body. 
The thickness of the wire must depend on the 
size of the bird. The tail must be fixed with 
wire. 

Last of all, the eyes must be put in. Open 
the eyelids, and force the eyes far enough into 
the head, and then carefully manipulate the 
eyelid to make the eye sit naturally. When a 
bird is first shot the colour of the eye should 
be noticed, and matched as nearly as possible 
when buying the glass eye. We get cases of 
glass eyes out from England. 

A real knowledge of woodcraft and the eye 
of the naturalist is, of course, wanted to set up 
birds naturally and artistically. The nature and 
the habit of the specimen must be taken into 
account, and its poses in life studied. For 
instance, a pheasant struts with a stiflF neck, 
the duck's is carried less arched than that of 

42 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the snake-headed cormorant so common to the 
jhils. 

A careful touching up is necessary when all 
is finished. The feathers can be arranged with 
a probe or a needle-point in small birds ; a 
great improvement is the varnishing of the 
beak and legs. Artificial rocks can be arranged 
for a group of birds. They are made out of 
paper laid on the wood stand on which the 
birds are fixed, and shaped into the appearance 
of rock or stones. Over it is poured a hot solu- 
tion of one part glue, one part whitening, and 
one part sand, which soon dries very hard ; 
dried sticks, ferns, grasses, can be added. 

Arsenical soap has been alluded to. In a 
land where there is not a chemist round every 
corner, we make it ourselves as follows : Cam- 
phor, 5 drachms ; arsenic, 4 ounces ; white soap, 
4 ounces ; flaked lime, 4 ounces ; mix with a 
little water into a soft paste. 



43 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I HAVE been interrupted writing this 
morning by a plague of callers. As I 
was sitting in the verandah, it was im- 
possible to say " the door is closed," 
the Anglo-Indian euphemism for "not at 
home." 

Calling is a corvie under which we English 
indeed groan in India. It is a "daily round, 
a common task." We pay "morning calls," 
literally, as chronicled by Miss Austen, and 
painted by Mrs. Gaskell, in all their natural 
artificiality at Cranford. By an idiotic unwritten 
social law, the " calling shapes," " with sudden 
visitations daze" us at the hottest noontide 
hours. At the top of the verandah steps squats 
old Warsali, the bearer, to show visitors into 
the drawing-room. He is armed with a Benares 
brass tray whereon to receive their cards. Every 
one sends in cards in India, whether their hostess 
is at home or not, otherwise Warsali and his 
ilk would make confusion worse confounded 
by trying to announce European names. The 
custom has its advantages in this land of bureau- 
cracy, for it enables one to determine beforehand 
the social position of the new arrivals, and to 
avoid conversational pitfalls. Occasionally, how- 
ever, when the mere male calls, for mutual 

44 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

protection and support, in couples, it requires 
some astuteness on the part of the hostess to 
discover, without their knowing it, which is 
Captain Smith, the talented staff officer, and 
which Captain Jones, the gifted polo-player. 

Like Lady Macbeth, I have a horror of 
these " compunctuous visitings." All new- 
comers are in duty bound to call upon older 
residents, and one is at the beck and call of 
any one and every one, from twelve to two. 
The disparity between the sexes in India decrees 
that "let the man who calleth be the caller," 
in a large proportion. There is the perfunctory 
caller, with " visits like an angel's, few and far 
between ; " the shy caller, who makes a regular 
visitation, during which his hat is apt to undergo 
visible signs of his embarrassment, who " lingers 
long," unable to make up his mind when, or 
how to depart. He always inclines me to 
emulate the example, and copy the valedictory 
formula, of a well-known public school head- 
master who indented a remedy for such a 
phase of shyness on the part of his youthful 
breakfast-guests. He was wont, I am told, 
to rise and lay his hand on their shoulders, 
murmuring regretfully, "And must you go 
now?" 

Finally, there is he who finds "calling so 

45 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

sweet,'* that he calls early and calls often, some- 
times not wisely, but too well, lingering " long 
o' Loo" (otherwise Belinda, my charming neigh- 
bour behind the millingtonias across the road). 
In qui hat days Belinda would have been termed 
the " station spin." But now the marriageable 
maiden is not so rare in a cantonment. Belinda, 
however, is a very " bright particular star," and 
as, from my verandah, I watch the patient 
grooms holding the ponies by the hour outside 
Belinda's, I reflect that, in the end, it will not 
be he who called, but he who was chosen. 

Though I am not one of those hostesses 
who, to misquote Dryden, is "she who can 
call to-day her own," I have this morning been 
inundated with a perpetual stream of women's 
new hats and men's latest tweed suits. There 
is no manner of doubt that the hot weather is 
over. People are returning fast. I am tired 
of shaking hands. What would it be if I had 
an " at home " day ? 

Of shaking hands, by-the-by, I perceive a 
new fashion. It has been brought out " from 
home" by the lucky people just back, along 
with their new clothes. It came to me with 
something of a shock when I advanced to greet 
Amanda, many months missed and mourned, 
and sought the " touch of a vanished hand." 

46 



r 



I 

I 



J 



\ *My Gnrdm in the City of Gardens 

■ 

,. I I ■ .1 I 111*1 I . . ,— 

I gave myself away in the gpreeting, and imagined 
she received me coldly. 1 sought to grasp her 
hand on equal terms, but lo I it was here — it 
was there 1 I groped in mid air for an extended 
finger, I found myself confronted by the angle 
of an elbow — ^given, in fact, the cold shoulder. 
But no snub was intended, I found. It was 
merely the last new and fashionable shake — 
a wobble, a squeeze, a jerk of the elbow. 
The shake of the hand has become, I see, the 
shibboleth of Society. It alters every season, 
like the men's collars. By their shake ye shall 
know them. Masonic signs are nothing to 
it. Aftei* all, we merely substitute one social 
shackle for another. Bowing as a fine art 
went out with powder. We now only nod. 
But the intricacies of Society handshaking bid 
fair to rival those ^* of the nice conduct of a 
clouded cane." 

But there really is a great deal in the shake 
of a hand. We study people's character by 
the shapes of their noses, the loops of their 
writing, the wrinkles on their palms. When 
shall we develop sufficient nicety of touch to 
test them by their handshake ? Yet we English 
have for centuries had special advantages for 
the study. Shaking hands is a peculiarly 
British characteristic. In no country, except 

47 



ft 



My Garden in the City of Gardens* 

m 

perhaps Norway, has this form of salutation been 
so much in vogue as with us — at least, from 
Shakespeare's time. We laugh at foreigners, 
for we know not how to bow, and to kiss we 
are ashamed. So we go on grasping each 
other's palms till around the action has sprung 
up a wealth of simile and allusion unknown 
in any language but our own. 

Recognizing the fact that every one has four 
fingers and a thumb, it is extraordinary how 
handshakes vary. They are essentially human, 
too. Savages do not shake hands. The Japs, 
the most recently emerged from barbarism, 
have not as yet adopted the custom. Nor 
have we heard if "Professor" Garner found 
it in vogue among the monkey denizens of 
African forests. 

We all know the grip hearty — " Here's my 
hand." "And mine, too, with my heart in 
it ! " — that squeezes our rings into our flesh 
and wrings our gouty joints — "the pleasure 
that's almost a pain." How we shrink from 
the genial, kindly creature who administers it, 
as often as not with a pump-handle accom- 
paniment of the arm ! 

Then there's the confidential, double-barrelled 
shake, first cousin to the kiss on both cheeks, 
and which, when given by an adept woman, 

48 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

never fails to charm — a slow, soft squeeze, with 
the hands low down and much eye-business 
intermixed. When, on the stage, I behold the 
siren thus greet the eligible jeune premiery I am 
instinctively aware that they share a "past" 
between them, and I tremble for the ingenue's 
happiness. In this form of handshake the 
palms may be allowed to lie within each other 
indefinitely, and the male palm may possibly 
subsequently steal round the lady's waist. Of 
this form of handshake dear little Mrs. Caramel, 
our catty-puss hill-beauty, just back from a very 
successful season at Simree, exhibits excellent 
examples. 

Again, there is that limp, flabby shake of a 
nerveless hand, that makes one long for the 
custom to be abolished. It is not pleasant 
people who shake hands thus. There is a 
vacuum where their heart should be — cold, 
unsympathetic mortals, from whom one shrinks 
to ask a favour, and to whom one would hesitate 
to air a grievance. 

About election times in England, the hand- 
shake political is in full swing ; the candidate's 
"hands promiscuously applied," the outward 
and visible sign of the vote of confidence, the 
first step towards kissing the " specially washed 
babies." There is no flabbiness about this. 

49 « 



My Gurden in the City of Gardens 

It is cheery, " hail-fellow-well-met," democratic, 
broad. In days that are no more, the candidate's 
handshake left something tangible behind it, 
and the coin of the realm changed hands in a 
shake. The custom survives in the valedictory 
grasp which we bestow upon Sir Luke Lancet 
as we quit his consulting-room. A doctor's 
handshake is quite unique. There is some- 
thing of a deformity about the grasp. It 
resembles that given by those endowed with a 
malformation, or who have lost a finger — the 
palm extended horizontally, and the little finger, 
by dint of long practice, deftly preventing the 
golden coin from slipping on to the floor. 

Again, there is the handshake formal, merely 
complimentary, like the ** yours faithfully " at 
the end of a business letter, or the " sincerely 
yours" of one dear friend congratulating 
another on her engagement to the young man 
she herself would have liked to marry. This 
handshake is in vogue between the seconds in 
a duel, when they have posted the principals 
and the game is about to begin. It pertains 
among athletes ere the bayonet is drawn, the 
sword unsheathed, or the gloves put on which 
swell out of all recognition the human palm, 
and is just intended to show there is no ill- 
feeling. In like manner there have been 

50 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

historic handshakes, between conqueror and 
conquered, pardoner and pardoned, no one 
much the better for them. At spirit-s6ances 
there are the ghostly handshakes, like those 
described in Christmas numbers, cold, clammy, 
and awe-inspiring, though compounded of an 
old glove and wet sand. Among these is no 
change of fashion. The " touch of a vanished 
hand " is always on the same pattern. 

Handshaking plays a great part in the noble 
art of flirtation. Our grandmothers talked of 
the language of fans and of flowers. How 
much more expressive is the length and inten- 
sity of the pressure I It graduates from the 
ephemeral, illegitimate squeeze, hastily given in 
the lancers, en passanty to the all-important, 
solemn, ratifying grasp, such as Miranda and 
Ferdinand exchanged. 

Norway is the most democratic kingdom under 
the sun. They have abolished titles, and every 
one shakes hands with every one else upon the 
slightest provocation. If you tip the pony-boy 
or hotel porter, he promptly acknowledges it 
by a hearty grasp, which is somewhat discon- 
certing to the haughty Briton. Handshaking 
in Norway is equivalent to the ubiquitous 
hand-kissing of Austria. 

Up to recent days royalty did not shake 

51 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

hands with the subject. " Would shake hands 
with a king upon his throne, and think it 
kindness to his Majesty," remarks the Repub- 
lican poet, whose President's fingers are wrung 
at his White House receptions by all and every. 
Monarchs were wont to "touch" for healing 
purposes, but not by way of conferring social 
distinction, ^ufre temps^ autres mcsurs. 



5« 



i 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I DROVE round recently to have a look 
at the ferneries in the Prophet's Garden. 
Here was one of those royal garden- 
houses, on the outskirts of the city, and 
was used as an outpost by Sir Colin Campbell 
in the Second Relief. It has been razed, the 
site gardened, and bisected with the broad Mall, 
shaded with mangos, a soft sand ride on either 
side. In the middle stand the Cantonment 
Club, theatre, cricket ground, and bandstand, 
among flower-beds and pergolas of jaffri work, 
which shelter palms and ferns. It is marvellous 
in this climate what a little shade and water can 
eflFect. 

I found a Badminton Tournament in full 
swing under the mangos round the club in the 
Prophet's Garden. Belinda was winning, and 
methought hearts were flying about as well as 
shuttlecocks, and she seemed volleying them 
with equal grace and discernment. A nice boy 
in the Scilly Islanders came with me, in a most 
dejected mood, into the ferneries. Among the 
golden fern and maiden hair he gave me his 
candid opinion about the partner Belinda had 
chosen. 



53 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



FOR a change from the usual evening 
ride or drive we went up the river 
yesterday — 3, pleasant trip, but not 
one to be indulged in too frequently, 
or it might spell fever. 

The slow sullen Gumti floats rather than 
flows down through the " garden of India " on 
its way to join the Ganges near the sacred 
towers and ghauts of Benares. We took boat 
at the English Garden below Heart's Delight. 
Here, in the early nineteenth century, Nasiru- 
din Haider, second King of Oudh, laid out a 
garden and planted it with European trees, 
hence its name. Though by no means to be 
approved of as a man and monarch, he had a 
nice taste in gardening, and the situation is 
pleasant, steps leading down to the river and 
a high wall all round, to seclude his ladies from 
outside gaze. As we passed through, I noted 
the usual low-walled enclosures of British 
graves. The English Garden it is well named. 
It was near here in the final relief that Sir Colin 
laid his two bridges of boats across the Gumti. 
On the night of March 5 Outram and his 
force crossed to begin their outflanking move- 
ment, and, in spite of delays and difliculties, 
thanks to Sir Colin riding down and pitching 

54 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

into everybody " most handsomely, I catching 
the principal share," says Sir Hope Grant, got 
across unperceived before dawn. 

Through carefully cultivated fields, and 
flanked by melon beds in the rich alluvial soil 
below the high banks, which next rains will 
submerge, winds and winds the Gumti. My 
oarsmen, trained by the banks of Brocas, were 
not in as good condition as in days of old, and 
we did not hurry. 

The river at Lakhnao is crossed by five 
bridges, which carry on as it were in chrono- 
logical order the development of the city from 
an obscure hamlet to a capital. The railway 
bridge which we passed under first, in all its 
naked utilitarian ugliness, is of course the most 
modern production. The old builders pleased 
the eye better. 

Round the first bend we came upon the park, 
imposing obelisk, dome and towers of the 
Martini^re, fiicing us among trees, and giving 
an odd, partly rococo, partly eastern, and partly 
mediaeval touch to the landscape. Poor old 
General Claude I what a poor substitute he 
must have found the Gumti for his native 
rushing Rhone I 

Then on through quiet reaches of the river, 
given over to mud hamlets and cultivation, and 

55 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

washerfolk busy beating garments to pieces at 
the water's edge, and to muggers and ghurrials. 
Of the former it may be said monstrum hor- 
rendum informe. A more repulsive spectacle 
can hardly be seen than the mugger as it lies 
on an oozy sandbank, for all the world looking 
like a log of wood, till it lifts its blunt head, 
and with its short legs, hardly more than 
flappers, lumbers its bloated brown carcase 
into the water at one's approach. Handsome 
is as handsome does. The mugger illustrates 
the reverse of the motto. He is only as civil 
as he looks. Woe betide the washerman's little 
child, or his donkey, wandering about the bank, 
or even a sick cow, that comes within reach of 
his blunt snout. 

As in the world of men, so the ghurrial, 
though looking much more dangerous with its 
long sharp nose and appalling rows of teeth, is 
only a fish eater. Appearances are deceptive. 

But let us pull on. They are a blot upon the 
scene, and the four-oar is so crank that merely 
to look at the muggers and ghurrials makes 
me shudder, and I am quite relieved to listen 
to the conversation going on in the bows about 
the good sport of shooting them. It seems 
that they have only one vulnerable spot in their 
thick hides, namely, where the head and body 

S6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

join, but are exceedingly difficult to bag, as 
they nearly always sink into the water to die. 

Here comes in that miserable Nasiru-din's 
abortive canal. He intended to join the Ganges 
and the Gumti by a course of some fifty miles. 
But peculative and speculative contractors in- 
tervened, and it was never finished. The only 
purpose it has ever served was that of a first 
line of works for the rebels. 

Now we turned citywards, and under the 
pile-bridge, busy with traffic, the heavy bullock 
hackris lumbering over our heads. On our left 
lay a line of palaces and public buildings, each 
in woody gardens, many half in ruins, all the 
scenes of past splendours of Oudh sovereignty, 
all the scenes of battle and murder and sudden 
death, and of British heroism. Each of the 
three relieving forces fought over the hardly 
contested area. 

Then under Bruce's Bridge, built in 1866, 
and here a fine view down the long, straight 
reach, spanned by the iron bridge ordered out 
from England by Ghaziu-din Haider in 1 8 1 6, 
to Asufu-daula's picturesque, high-pitched stone 
bridge of 1780, with its thirteen gothic arches. 
In the distance rises the imposing outline of 
the Great Im&mbdra, perhaps the finest mass of 
masonry in India, and the minarets and domes 

57 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

of the Mahommedan cathedral of Lakhnao. 
To the left, buried in trees, lie the ruins of the 
Residency, the famous flagstaff soaring above 
the greenery ; nearer, the towers and domes of 
Caesar's garden palace. 

At a little distance from Bruce's Bridge, on 
the opposite side of the river, lies the King's 
Garden, only a thousand yards from the Resi- 
dency, and where the mutineers planted a 
battery. From this came the shell that killed 
Sir Henry Lawrence. In happier days the 
Hon. Emily Eden, processing about the country 
with her brother, the Governor-General, thus 
writes of the King's Garden : — 

" Such a place 1 The only residence I have 
coveted in India. Don't you remember in the 
Arabian Nights, Zobeide bets her garden of 
delights against the caliph's palace of pictures ? 
I am sure this was the garden of delights. 
Four small places in it fitted up in the eastern 
way with velvet and gold and marble, with 
arabesque ceilings and orange trees and roses, 
with quantities of wild paroquets of bright 
colours glancing about. In one palace an 
uncommon bathroom, white marble arches in- 
tersecting each other in all directions, marble 
inlaid with cornelian and bloodstone, and in 
every corner of the palace litde fountains." 

58 



My Garden, in the. City of Gardens 

Can you wonder that, remembering this glow- 
ing description, nothing would do but that I 
should persuade my crew to land, deferring for 
awhile the prospective iced peg, and escort me 
to this earthly paradise ? 

Up a dirty ghaufy or bathing-place, and 
through squalor, off the beaten track of the 
new post-Mutiny thoroughfares, to a large 
high-walled, fortified garden. Three lofty orna- 
mented gateways with guard-rooms led into 
pleasant grounds, well planted with fruit and 
forest trees, and divided by gravel walks into 
parterres gay with shrubs. As I said, Nasiru-din 
Haider had a pretty taste in gardening, and the 
half-ruined aqueducts and tanks show a feeling 
after waterworks, combined with gardens, such 
as one finds in old villa grounds in Italy. Shade 
and cool, water and green, that is, after all, 
the main idea of a garden in lands where 
the sun has to be reckoned with. In the 
middle stands the King's Palace, round-towered, 
two-storied, and, wonderful to relate in this 
city of stucco, of stone, with its open arcaded 
hall, where doubtless the Governor-General 
was entertained ; in one corner a more costly 
villa, with high-walled courtyard, where I am 
quite sure he was not allowed to penetrate. 

I turned away, regretting that I had not 

59 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

known India in those more splendid days, 
and we pulled across the stream to the steps 
of the beautiful Parasol Palace ; and so to tea 
and gossip in its vaidted and traceried halls, 
once the abode of Nasiru-din's beauties, and 
now given over to the club. 



60 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I WAS busy two evenings ago superin- 
tending the watering of my delicate 
seedlings, lest the bhisH should drown 
the life out of them, when I heard 
sudden shoutings down the road accompanied 
by a peculiar shrill sound — the trumpeting of 
an elephant. Now, all our own particular tame 
beasts that live in cantonments, the hewers of 
wood and the drawers of water, so to speak, of 
the commissariat department, ought to have 
been put to bed long before this, and to have 
been enjoying their evening meal of sugar-cane, 
or, if they have been very, very good, the sort 
of tipsy cake that the heart of an elephant 
delights in, a great leathery flapjack, flavoured 
with rum or brandy, and spices and treacle. So 
I was surprised to hear the sound. Still more 
surprised to see a bamboo cart, which had been 
driven past the house a few minutes before, 
return at a gallop, as if fleeing from some- 
thing. 

The shouting drew nearer, accompanied 
now by a sound as of a clanking iron, and, 
down the road at a headlong trot, a broken 
chain rattling about his heels, came a huge 
elephant, his trunk waving in the air. Behind 
him ran his mahout^ distraught, calling upon 

6i 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

him with every term of command and of en- 
dearment to stop ; behind the mahout z small 
crowd of spectators. 

« Musi ! " « Must ! " (« MadI " « Mad ! ") 
cried the hhisti; and he threw down his 
musak and bolted. 

But the elephant urged on his wild career. 
He lifted up his trunk, seized an overspread- 
ing branch of golden cassia, tore it down in a 
minute, and trampled the delicate blossoms into 
the dust 

Whereupon I, too, beat a hasty retreat. 
From the vantage ground of the verandah I 
watched to see what would happen next. 

Some of the commissariat people came gal- 
loping up on ponies, and tried to head him off. 
But the elephant cared not a jot for them. The 
ponies did though, and quite declined to face 
him. Things began to look serious. The 
elephant had reached my ungated entrance, 
and looked as if he had a mind to come in. 

I felt in despair. Visions of my young 
trees torn up by the roots — I had seen a must 
elephant in the commissariat yard shake the 
large forest tree he was chained to — ^visions 
of my trampled flower-beds ; nay, visions of 
the bungalow falling in ruins about my ears, 
should the elephant be tempted, Samson like, 

62 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

to seize the verandah pillars ! But I had 

forgotten Vixen. 

That lady had been dozing on the step of the 
verandah with one eye open — that eye which 
has the black patch on it, which always gives 
it such a preternaturally knowing expression. 
She was wondering when I should have done 
wandering about in the' garden and go for a 
ride ; it was nearly time, she knew. 

Vixen now woke up in real earnest at the 
unwonted appearance of this huge intruder 
at the gate. Here was worse than any box 
wallah (hawker), whom she hates, and promptly 
chivies. Here was something larger and more 
obtrusive even than the pariah dog whom her 
British soul abhorreth. 

" Go for him 1 S-s-s-s I " I cried ; and then, 
the next moment, wildly regretted that I had 
spoken. What if that whirling, curling trunk 
— those massive hoofs 

I need have had no fear. Vixen darted out 
like a little white-and-black cannon-ball to within 
exactly the right distance of range of the foe, 
and then she barked her most abusive, con- 
temptuous ; and the elephant, who would have 
faced a wounded tiger, was seized with panic at 
the sight of a small terrier, and fled. 

Half an hour later I heard that the mahout 

63 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

had got at him, and had safely guided him, 
contrite and docile, back to bed. There are 
all sorts of moral lessons to be drawn from 
this little incident, and political ones as well. 
For the elephant read " India," and for Vixen, 
" Britannia." What a mystery is our hold 
upon this land I 



64 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THE last few mornings I have been 
having a great tidy-up in my 
garden. The jaffii work of the 
verandah, damaged by the rains and 
dust-storms, has been repaired. The cleroden- 
drons, white and red, and both, are out, and, with 
the other creepers which are running up with 
magical rapidity, have been tied up and trained. 
Now is the time for cutting back the roses for 
successive bloom ; but the rose hedge and the 
standards round the drive I pruned last month. 
The chrysanthemums are coming on nicely, 
but then I have had them liberally plied with 
liquid manure. The vegetables take much 
watering and tending, and the seeds have to be 
pricked out. 

As I write in the verandah comes a 

** Breathing of balsam and of citron groves, 
Myrtle then, 
And then a waft of cassia, 
And a wandering cedar scent/ 



*» 



The cassias are a sight down the road, feathery, 
clustered with golden yellow flowers. 

The tecomas are very gay — orange rosy-pink 
and lilac, and my English annuals are coming 
on apace, especially the 

<< Winking Mary buds begin 
To ope their golden eye," 

6$ F 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 
and remind me of Gay's old enigma — 

^ This riddle, Cuddy, if thou canst explain. 
What flower is that which bean the Virgin^s name ? 
The richest metal added to the same.*^ 

But one may have too much of a good 
thing, and I find the gardener has scattered 
them broadcast into every vacant space ! 

The African marigold came to England 
in the sixteenth century from the Indies. 



66 



DECEMBER 

** Sadly fell our Christmas Eve. 
We gambol'd, making vain pretence 
Of gladness." 



DECEMBER 

bv 



MY violets are in bloom ! You 
cannot think how one treasures 
out here the quiet little " home " 
flower, buried in greenery. " The 
violet is like a nun," sings Tom Hood. Yester- 
day, oh, delight I I found a soft spot of purple 
peering up at me ; the violets had sprung 
" from sleep like eyes." 

Dear litde English flower I " Love of truth, 
and truth of love I " I must press you and 
enclose you in the home letter next mail day, 
for three hundred years ago did not an English 
poet sing — 



'* Violet 18 for faithfulnesse 

V^hich in me shall abides 
Hoping likewise that from your heart 

You will not let me slide. 
And will continue in the same 

As you have now begunne. 
And then» for ever, to abide 

When you my heart have wonne." 

r 

My violets are in bloom I Carefiilly, one 
by one, have I gathered enough to make me 
a buttonhole for my habit for the paperchase 
to-day. It is a great triumph, for I have spenj 

69 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

y^moTt care and thought on the violets than on 
^ all the lurid tropical flowers that patch the 

\ garden with colour. They are grown, my 
violets, in pots in the back, the north, verandah 
— a long unsightly array, with ne'er a glint of 
the dreaded sunshine flecking them. &e I 
am up in the morning, in the short twilight, 
when — 

^ Day in a breathleit panion kisses night, 
And neither speaks," 

the main waters them vicariously by means of 
the bhisHy with his goatskin full of water, care- 
fully trickling the stream through his fingers ; 
for are they not the memsahiFs most dierished 
plants, the « bilots " ? 

'Tis ever thus in life. We prize only what 
is most diflicult to obtain. The grapes are 
dubbed sour, but not before the fox has made 
a futile spring to grab them. 

The main is, of course, the gardener. Every 
one knows the old story of the Irish girl just 
out fi-om " home ** desirous of some roses she 
saw, and of how her swain called to the malli 
to bring them, whereupon the daughter of Erin 
coyly remarked, "Shure, an* I didn't think 
ye'd known me long enough to call me Mollie ! '* 

As will have been perceived, I keep both a 
malli and a garden. In India the two are not 

70 



My Garden in tlie City of Gardens 

inseparable. A custom pertains in villadom in 
England of two or three little gardens depend- 
ing upon the ministrations of one jobbing 
gardener. In India some people — ^generally 
the thriftless, unprincipled junior of either 
service — keep only a mallL Nevertheless, 
strange as it may appear, to them also comes 
the diurnal ddIL This is a wicker tray, covered 
with vegetables of the season, and presided 
over by a stiff and garish bouquet devoid of 
greenery, which a muscular mahogany figure, 
dexterously draped about the loins and legs 
with a dirty Jhoti, presents each morning 
with many signs of abject servitude. One's 
garden supplies others besides one's sel^ and 
one's neighbours appease the malli class by 
paying the wages of one. 



71 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THE air was so crisp and sharp when 
I got up that, what with my violet 
buttonhole and the paperchase in 
prospect, I felt something of the 
exhilaration of spirits pertaining to a hunting 
morning in England. The increasing power 
of the sun, and the hour fixed for the meet — 
one p.m. — however, somewhat disillusioned me. 
But I endeavoured to keep up the hallucination 
by donning a hard black hat. One never feels 
really well-turned-out in a white solar-tope^ and 
though the Mall is white and glary, one really 
runs no risk in this place just for a few, very 
few, weeks in mid-winter. 

The meet was at the local Colney Hatch. 
The inmates grinned and jabbered at us as 
we rode up from behind the stout wooden bars 
of the long line of huts where they are immured. 
Their relatives have to bring them food. It 
is like feeding the beasts at the Zoo, only 
revolting. 

Outside cantonment and the city the land is 
very gay at this season. Oudh has been called 
the garden of India, it is so well cultivated. 
Even in this year of drought and dryness, here, 
where there is plenty of river irrigation, wheat, 
barley, and the dhal^ where the wolf and 

72 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

jackal lair by day, the l^ajr^ and other kinds of 
millet, cover the ground ; the mustard crop is 
bright yellow, and the flax is in flower — a bright 
blue. 

The course had been laid about the ruins of 
the old cantonments. The houses were thatched, 
and were fired by the rebels on May 30, 1857. 
Now all is desolation. We jumped in and out 
of what had once been gardens trim and cared 
for as mine is now, the cnunbling banks making 
capital " leps." Tottering gate pillars still stand, 
a tangled mass of trees and shrubs and creepers. 
Here and there yawns a well, long dry, which 
had once irrigated deserts into gardens. Very 
dangerous are these round unprotected holes ; 
one shouted to warn those galloping behind 
one, as the pony discriminatingly swerved. I 
never see one of these wells witiiout thinking 
of a sad episode in the Captain Sahib's subaltern 
days — how little Bobby, the youngest, the 
cheeriest of the regiment, not long joined, left 
mess one dark night, with a laugh on his lips 
and a cheroot in his mouth, to walk across to 
his bungalow, but two compounds off; how 
he was missing from his bed the next morning 
when his bearer went to call him for parade, 
and at noon was found drowned in one of these 
wells he had evidently walked into. 

73 



My {jrarden in the City of Gardens 



^ 




Now and again, as ^^the glad throng went 
^ughing along," we galloped past remains 
of these pre-Mutiny bungalows, mere frag- 
ments of crumbling walls devastated by shell 
and fire and time. It was very sad. As, at 
dusk, we rode homewards through our well* 
\ gardened cantonments, I could not help think- 
\ing of the lives of the Sahib folk who had 
made and lived in these ^ruined gardens before 
the great ** bobbery." (My ayahy when one day 
I asked her her age, replied that she did not 
know, but that she was born the year of the 
great " bobbery," i^. naughtiness.) They rode, 
they hunted, they shot, much as we do now, 
doubtless. But they had no tennis, or even 
croquet, golf, or bicycles. I imagine them 
sitting in the evening on their chabutras in their 
gardens, the women doing Berlin-wool work or 
crochet, and talking most microscopic gossip ; 
while the men smoked Indian cheroots, and 
drank bottled beer from England, or brandy and 
water. Indian breweries, soda water, and ice 
machines were unknown ; new books and maga- 
zines came only once a month, .and even the 
Queen did not exist. Then fell the thunder- 
olt out of the blue. Their gardens knew them 
no more. Where are they all, the men who 
made the India we inherit, the white women 

74 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



(there were but few hill stations, and those 
difficult of access), the whiter children ? Some 
are dragging out days of liver-y old age at 
Cheltenham, or in the Asia Minor of South 
Kensington, their names well-nigh forgotten 
by this generation. Some lie in the crowded 
old cemetery across the river, some in scattered 
forgotten graves — some few, who knows where ? 
Simply no tidings of them when Sir Colin^s 
victorious troops came to their own again 1 



75 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



HOW often one hears it utterly 
denied that any English women 
were abducted in the Mutiny, 
and never subsequently traced. 
Yet, every now and again, from below the sur- 
face of our quiet ordered life here under British 
rule, rise strange rumours, painful stories, which 
point to the possibility that women and girls of 
our own race have for years and years been 
imprisoned in native zenanas^ a possibility which 
no one acquainted with native life can quite 
deny. 

For instance, it is well known that, at the 
outbreak of the Mutiny, a Captain Ryan was 
serving with the Gwalior contingent as com- 
missariat officer. His family consisted of him- 
self, his wife, a little boy of five, a girl of 
eleven, and a pretty girl of seventeen. When 
the contingent mutinied they massacred the 
Europeans, and when order was restored, it 
is significant that, though the murders of Cap- 
tain and Mrs. Ryan were substantiated, nothing 
was ever found out as to the fate of their 
daughters, nor of four or five other grown-up 
girls, intimate friends of Mrs. and Miss Ryan, 
who were known to have been in the station 
at that time. Nor was the Gwalior instance a 

76 



My Garden in the City of Ghrdens 

solitary one. A correspondence in the press 
some years subsequent to the Mutiny, eluci- 
dated the information that in more ^an one 
locality there was ample reason to believe that 
various Englishwomen were inmates of the 
harems ; while in certain places where massacres 
of Europeans had occurred, and the men and 
women been murdered, no news could be 
gleaned as to the fate of children and grown- 
up girls. 

I remember some years ago reading in the 
press a terrible story communicated by an 
Indian official, who, for obvious reasons, sup- 
pressed the names of persons and localities. 

"About the autumn of 1869 I was residing 

in the Hindoo city of , being then engaged 

on Government employment. One day, while 
talking to some of my assistants on the out- 
skirts of the town, a large ekka (native carriage) 
passed me. The curtains were closely drawn, 
but on each side were small holes arranged 
for the purpose of allowing the inmates to see 
out, without being themselves observed ; and I 
afterwards ascertained that the occupants were 
women belonging to the harem of one of the 

Mahommedan nobles of . A few days 

afterwards one of my chief employes, a high- 
caste Hindoo Munshi of the literary class, 

77 



wan« 



My €rarden in the City of Gardens 

came to me privately, and made a singular 
statement. Having begun by saying he had 
Ifurra khubba (great news) for me, he explained 
that a woman of the sweeper caste, employed 
by his wife to do what we should call char- 
woman's work, was also employed for the same 
purpose in the noble's palace. This woman 
told the Munski^s wife that one of the ladies 
in the harem was a European, and that she was 
in the ekka the day it passed me in the road. 
The sweeper-woman further mentioned that 
she had spoken with the above-mentioned 
zenana lady, who asked her carefully to find 
out if the sahib who was on the road on the 
day in question was a man of kind disposition, 
and, if so, to ascertain from him if a rumour 
which she heard was true, to the efiect that all 
the Europeans at Kh&npur had been killed in 
the river (the Ganges) at the time of the 
Mutiny, and generally to learn what changes 
had taken place since that event. 

^^ I had great confidence in the judgment and 
discretion of my Munshi^ who was, among 
natives, a very superior man, and I told him to 
say it was true the people at Khdnpi^ had 
perished, that the Company's rule was over, 
and that the English queen was now ruler of 
the country. I then told my Munshi to have 

78 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the following questions put to the zenana lady. 
Had she been taken from Khdnpdr ? If so, 
what age was she then ? What part of India 
she remembered, and what was her name? 
After a few ' days, my Munshi told me the 
sweeper-woman had once more seen the lady, 
who gave her the following information : At 
the time of the Mutiny she was a child, as &r 
as she could judge, of about six or seven years 
of age. She remembered the incidents of the 
siege of Kh^npdr, and said that one day, which, 
she recollected, was excessively hot, the Euro- 
pean soldiers, with the women and children, 
were all marched out of the entrenchments. 
On passing through what she described as a 
maidan (open space)^ she became aware that 
a fight began with the Sepoys. At this time 
she was being carried in the arms of her father, 
who was in uniform, when suddenly a native 
snatched her away ; she then found herself 
rolled up in a sheet, and she was carried a long 
distance, and at last she found herself with a 
native family, where there were children with 
whom, she played about After this, she 
thought that she had been changed from one 
locality to another on one or two occasions, 
until she was taken to the noble's residence 
where she was at that time, and became one of 

79 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the wives of the owner. In particular, the 
lady asked after two men who were at Khdnpdr, 
and whose names she remembered ; they were 

and . One of these two, she said, 

was her father ; he was a military man, but as 
to which of the men was her parent my infor- 
mation was not clear, and it must be remem- 
bered that the statement came to me through 
three different people. The sweeper added 
that the young lady in the harem appeared 
about eighteen years of age, this opinion thus 
tallying with her own idea as to her age at the 
time of her being taken away, since which time 
she had quite forgotten English, and lived in 
every respect as the other inmates of the 
seraglio. The character of the information I 
received left no doubt in my mind but that a 
European was immured in the noble's zenana^ 
and that she was one of the few who had 
escaped the KhAnpiir tragedy. I therefore 
told my Munshi to ascertain if the lady wished 
to leave her present abode, and what I could 
do for her. 

" After three or four days, the sweeper stated 
that she was no longer admitted to the harem, 
but that some of her own caste were employed 
in her place, and that from them she heard that, 
after her last interview with the European 

80 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

inmate, the latter had become very much 
dejected, and cried continually during the 
night. In consequence of this, the suspicions 
of the other women, wives and relations of the 
noble, were aroused, and they became aware 
that communication with some quarter outside 
the harem had been going on, and hence the 
prohibition to the sweeper of again entering 
the residence ; in addition, I understood that 
special precautions were put in force to prevent 
any further communication with the outer 
world. My efforts for the time being thus 
baffled, I had an interview with the nearest 
English magistrate on the subject, and im- 
parted the foil information to him, suggesting 
at the same time that efforts should be made 
to effect our countrywoman's release. The 

magistrate, Mr. y said this was easier said 

than done. It was against the policy of the 
Government to interfere with native prejudices, 
and few are so strong as those connected with 
the sentiment of harem life. Again, the 
information I had given him had come to him 
through four different people, and any attempt 
to execute a search warrant, unless conducted 
with the greatest caution, might result in the 
murder first, and then in the concealment of 
the body of the slain woman. Suppose, also, 

8x o 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

a search was unsuccessful, a very bitter feeling 
would be aroused in the minds of the Indian 
noble and of the wealthy classes at what they 
would consider a most unjustifiable intrusion 
into their private life ; and to the British func- 
tionary these difficulties appeared insuperable." 
A weird side light on the dark tragedy of 
the Mutiny was thrown by a chance conversa- 
tion I once overheard in a London omnibus. 
Two well-dressed, lady-like girls were talking, 
as girls will, engrossed in each other, when the 
'bus is nearly empty. Said one, ** My mother, 
you see, does not know who she is, nor what 
her name really is. She was quite a small baby 

in the Mutiny at when all the Europeans 

were massacred, and no one has ever been able 
to find out whose baby she was." 



82 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

THE weather has changed to quite 
cold. Not really cold, of course, by 
the thermometer, only one's poor 
body, rendered so susceptible by 
the hot weather, feels the change so much. 
At sundown last night I was glad, when driving, 
to put on a sealskin, and the curtains blow 
about with the cold wind as I write. Indian 
houses are full of draughts. My drawing-room 
is twenty feet high by forty-five feet square, 
and the wind blows through the house. But 
the sun is powerful at noon, and I wear a pith 
hat for riding, and if I am paying calls at the 
ungodly hours of twelve to two, which custom 
inflicts on one in this convention-ridden society, 
I have the hood of the carriage up to shield my 
last new hat out from "home." Even then, 
in the shade, the wind feels piercing. But I 
do enjoy being able to prowl about the garden 
all day, though the glare is apt to make one's 
head ache. 

I have been superintending the pricking out 
of hardy annuals into beds, especially attending 
to the pansies, and have had the geranium cut- 
tings set in a hot bed to force. 

The sky to-day, wonderful to relate, is 
covered with fine white clouds — that brazen 

83 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

sky that was erstwhile so pitiless — and the sun, 
mirabik dictUy occasionally goes in for a few 
minutes. In fact, it is like fine October 
weather in England. It was only 68° in the 
drawing-room at one o^clock yesterday, and 
I actually had chairs brought out to the little 
fern pool under the orange trees by the 
deer's home, before lunch, and sat and sunned 
myself. We have blankets on our beds 
at night, and I am wearing a serge gown. 
The servants go about swathed in brown 
blankets, which give them a weirdly monkish 
aspect, and each and all wake us with a 
separate and continuous morning cough, which 
is as exasperating to us as it is to them, poor 
things I 

After a few evenings of fires after dinner, we 
have taken to fires all day, and the house is 
shut up. It is very dark, and 1 miss my 
verandah. I think it must be blowing up for 
the Christmas rains. 

The new potatoes have just been dug, and 
we had white artichokes to-day. I have been 
making a sort of preserve out of rozel. It is a 
bush of about a foot high, which grows in the 
kitchen garden, and bears a pink leaf about the 
size of a spinach leaf. When boiled, it becomes 
a species of red-currant jelly. The Captain 

84 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Sahib wishes some made into tarts for his men's 
Christmas dinners. 

Ready for the Christmas decorations, the 
poinsettias have come out, such a rich glow 
of bright scarlet among the dark green leaves 
of the large bushes 1 The hour for church 
has been put on tiU 1 1 a.m. now, but I still 
get up early, and ride or play tennis on the 
kacha court on the sunny side of the house, by 
the exercising ground and the stables. It is 
made of beaten mud smeared over the top, 
which is baked by the sun. It plays very fast, 
but tires one's feet more than grass. 



85 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 




\ 



\ 



YESTERDAY the Captain Sahib was 
on a board to award prizes to the 
gunners' gardens at the Fish 
Market Fort. The men are given 
seeds, and encouraged to grow vegetables and 
flowers, as the life of a garrison gunner in an 
Indian fort is a very dull one. 

We drove down the long wide Mall, shady 
with huge gnarled mango trees, and with peeps 
of the obelisk and turrets of the Martiniere 
College to the east, and the minarets of the 
city, the saracenic battlements and gilt domes 
of Caesar's Garden, the shining cupola of the 
"Parasol Palace," and "the towers of fair 
Lakhnao " shining at the end. The environs 
of this place are beautifully laid out. After 
the Mutiny, to avoid any recurrence of a siege, 
the enormous native city was much destroyed. 
Broad roads were run through it, and the 
suburbs well planted. The royal palaces and 
the ruins of the many "lordly pleasure- 
houses " which the luxurious sovereigns of 
Oudh had reared for themselves round their 
capital, were tastefiilly gardened. 

We drove through the Civil Lines, past the 
houses of the officials, the Government buildings, 
post-office and church, up to the famous Bailey 

Z6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Guard Gate of the Residency. We wandered 
about the ruins, which are well kept. With 
infinite pains all the cold weather, real grass- 
plots of weakly dhub grass, and ferneries are 
kept going. Stands of flowers conceal unsightly 
ruined masonry, and purple Bougainvilla splen- 
densy the Beaumontia grandifloray a large climber 
with white trumpet-shaped leaves, the scarlet 
star (coccinea) Ipomea^ and the great ThunbergaSy 
grandiflora and aurantiaca^ blue, pale lilac, and 
orange, shed a glory on the portico of the house 
where he died " who tried to do his duty." 

The Residency stands on a slight hill a 
quarter of a mile from the river, with a bare 
valley between it and the city, which is such a 
contrast to this beautiful peaceful oasis of 
greenery and flowers, being a white glaring 
mass of domes and towers, withal very imposing 
at a distance. The houses used to come close 
up to the Residency walls, which gave the 
besiegers such an advantage, but, as I said 
above, the city has now been levelled to half 
its size. 

The Fish Market Fort (from the crest of the 
Oudh kings, |a fish with its head erect) dates 
from about the middle of the eighteenth century. 
It is a very picturesque pile overlooking the 
river, and contains a mosque, and the Great 

87 



My Gardm in the CUy of Gardens 

Hall of the Imdmbdra, the architectural gem of 
Lakhnao, with the tomb of a wazir in the centre. 
The Im4mb4ra is, I believe, one of the largest 
halls in the world under one roof, but not so 
large as Westminster Hall. The effect, looking 
down from the tiny gallery which runs round 
under the roof, is very fine. It is full of the 
big naval guns dragged up from Allahabad 
by the ShannorCs contingent of the relieving 
force, one of which I fired oflF under the super- 
intendence of the officer in charge. 

" The Roomi Gateway and the Imimbira," 
writes Miss Eden, in her **Up Country 
Letters" of pre-Mutiny Days, "two of the 
most magnificent native buildings I have ever 
seen. About a week of hard sketching would 
have been really pleasant among them, and we 
had only half an hour." 

The quarters of the European garrison are 
inside the enclosure, but detached. As one 
stood adjudicating on the respective merits of 
cabbages and cauliflowers, what a sharp contrast 
was the scene outside — the elephants stalking 
down to the river to bathe, the camels swinging 
past into the city, and, overhead, against the 
clear blue sky, the massive poiated archway of 
the Turkish Gateway, with its ornamentations 
of acanthus leaves in stucco. 

88 



III 



i 



I 

1 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 




£ made an expedition to-day out 
into the country, as one would 
say if one was at home, the 
ostensible reason of which was 
the shooting of black buck by the Captain Sahib, 
On my part it was the overpowering desire 
which takes possession of me at intervals in 
India — to be alone. Alone, not only from 
one's fellow-sahibs, and mem-sahibs, the formal 
caller, and the faithful friend who pounces upon 
one ^t all hours, but also from the ubiquitous 
native. Occasionally the lurking domestic, 
behind the curtain or screen, squatting somno- 
lently ready for the sahib's shout, gets on my 
nerves. I have the feeling I am perpetually 
being watched, as I dare say I am. The extra- 
ordinary lives we lead, our incomprehensible 
occupations and amusements, must unroll them- 
selves like a ceaseless play before the eyes of 
our dependants. 

But 1 have circumvented them to-day, for 
we took the Slave, driving ourselves, and, with 
the Slave, only the chokra. The Slave, other- 
wise the White Slave, is a lean, country-bred 
pony upon whom we, and all the other ponies, 
I am sure, look with contempt. For he has 
no talent for polo. Wherefore it ensues that 

89 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the Slave is relegated to the tum-tum (otherwise 
the bamboo cart), and is at everybody's beck 
and call, when anything with four legs is 
required to drive, or to bestride, at any hour 
of the day or night. Occasionally the worm 
turns. The Slave had a fit of kicks a few 
weeks ago, and sent the iron rail of the splash- 
board flying in bits into our faces, as we 
were returning from the bandstand. I incon- 
tinently scrambled out over the back of the 
cart. 

The Slave belongs to the cfiokra^ and the 
chokra to the Slave; they are one and indi- 
visible. No Master of the Horse to royalty, 
no stud-groom to a Midland M.F.H., is more 
proud of his charge, or supremely conscious of 
his position. The chokra (i.e. boy) stands about 
three feet six, and presents an appearance chiefly 
of turban — livery turban, if you please — blue 
and white linen rolled in stripes, just like the 
other more mature grooms. Below the turban, 
which adds to the already abnormal size of his 
pate, he melts away into a wee cotton coat and 
involved rolls of rags, which all blend into one 
with his brown skin. I have reason to believe 
that he possesses a pair of heel-less, saiof-hkc 
shoes. But he never dons them, except in 
mufti. For he could not run in them. 

90 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

I have decidedly a sneaking fondness for the 
chokra — baptismal or patronymic unknown. I 
have no doubt that he is a little fiend incarnate 
if I only knew it, given over, like the rest of 
his race, to the multitude of smaller sins. But 
I like him all the same, and when the Captain 
Sahib detects him in peccadillos, and the chokra 
makes a near acquaintance with a riding-whip, 
and sobs and howls most humanly, like a 
European child, my heart melts, and I plead 
for him. 

The chokra is singularly bright — for a native. 
That is because he is so young. In a few 
years' time, when he shall have attained to 
man's estate, and to hubble-bubbles, bhangs 
many wives, and other delights, he will have 
become dense and slow. At present he serves 
us better than any one of our myrmidons. 
Moreover, he is not as yet hide-bound with 
custom, and he lets us do as we like, which 
others, especially the old bearer and the rustling, 
white-robed khansamah (house-steward), will not. 

It was yet dark when the chokra brought 
round the tum-tum. 

« Ere the blabbing Eastern scout 
The nice morn, on the Indian steep, 
From her cabined loophole peep." 

We had drank the cup of tea, without which 

91 



My Garden in the City of Crordens 

no European seems able to get out of bed in 
India, and had been attired by our respective 
attendants by candle-light. Out-of-doors the 
air struck chill. A bamboo cart is a very com- 
prehensive vehicle, but singularly open and 
full of pitfalls for the unwary — a mere seat 
on springs, with a foot-board. The rest 
nothing ; the whole wonderfully light run- 
ning. Where or how the chokra maintains 
(especially when the Slave is in a kicking 
mood) what must be a singularly precarious 
position, I will not undertake to state. Suffice 
it that at every halt he suddenly pops out from 
the back of beyond, and stands to attention, 
holding on to the Slave's head-piece, both their 
noses on a level. 

We started down the dusky Mall, I busy 
trjring to keep warm, and nursing affectionately 
the barrel of the Captain Sahib's rifle (for, as 
I said, a bamboo cart is full of pitfalls), my feet 
on the lunch basket. It would never do to 
arrive at our shooting-ground without a weapon, 
as Our Paddy did the other day. It was picked 
up by a native on a journey. He did not dare 
to sell it, for fear he should be traced as having 
had it in his possession, as natives are not 
allowed to carry weapons. So he gave notice 
of hi^ find at each police-station he came to, 

93 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

and, eventually, the telegraph restored it to its 
disconsolate owner. 

The False Dawn came. Beneath the Slave's 
feet the dust grew paler and more white, and 
when we left the European zone of trees and 
habitations, the wide, flat country stood out in an 
uncertain light, which was very becoming to it, 
lending it mystery, which, after all, is one of 
the charms of things, as well as of life and men. 
The False Dawn came ; but it was the False 
Dawn, and went no further. A strange hush, 
an expectation, brooded awhile over the land, 
the Indian equivalent for the long, beautiful 
twilights of more northern climes. It was a 
spectral land ; men, as trees walking, peasants 
turning out into the fields, their rude imple- 
ments and ploughshares on their backs, before 
them, scuffling along in the dust, their patient 
team of oxen, the yoke-pole jolting in the yoke, 
and stirring up a cloud behind them ; the 
whole eflFect quite picturesque in the dimness. 
One could not distinguish the staring ribs of 
the gaunt cattle, nor note how, in all probability, 
their poor ill-treated tails lacked some joints 
from much twisting. The cruelty of an Indian 
native 1 He stops just short of taking life ; 
but the lives of animals in India is a subject 
one cannot bear to think about. 

93 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

It was refreshingly crisp and cool, and re- 
freshingly solitary. We hardly met anything ; 
occasionally a hooded bullock-cart, lumbering 
through the dust on its broad and creaking 
wheels, blocked the way. The Slave had to 
be pulled up, the chokra sent on to arouse the 
slumbering driver squatting on the pole, his 
head tied up with rags against the chill air, 
which reduced him to a state of temporary deaf- 
ness, and more than ordinary stupidity. But the 
chokra quite enjoyed arousing him, and giving 
him his candid opinion in, to me, happily, un- 
understandable terms, of his female ancestry. 
The chokra shines on occasions like this. His 
zeal for his master's service is quite beautifiil 
to behold. 

Occasionally we saw, rather than heard, some 
belated jackals fleeing by, grey shadows, on 
their way home to bed in the sugar-cane patch, 
after a roystering night, carousing noisily and 
hilariously in a ravine on some carrion find. 

Then, suddenly, a distinct lightening of the 
world. Over in the east a blush. The real 
dawn has come. On and on we trotted, down 
miles of the straight, never-ending white road, 
the sentinel trees on either hand, till, suddenly, 
one was aware that shafts of sunlight were 
flickering through the branches, and flecking 

94 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the white of the dust. By this time it was 
I who was driving the Slave (if I may use such 
an expression, for that anirhal has only one 
pace, and does not allow himself to be driven), 
and the Captain Sahib had got out his binocu* 
lars, and was scanning the horizon for possible 
sight of the buck. We had reached just the 
country they affect — wide maidatiy with low 
mimosa and scrub, sheltering sparse herbage ; 
not a vestige of a village in sight, and only on 
the far horizon the dark patch of a : mango 
grove — artificial, Forest-Department-planted. 

At last the binocular tells true. In the far, 
far distance, buck, feasting peacefully and un- 
suspectingly. We can make out the slender 
gracefid form of the lord of the harem, spiral 
horned, and of his browsing ladies. In less time 
than it takes to tell, the Captain Sahib is down 
and off. Treading delicately like Agag, making 
himself as small and unobtrusive as possible, 
and clasping his rifle to his side, so as to be 
mistaken, if it may be, for an innocuous 
villager, he gradually grows less and less across 
the waste, hidden wherever possible by friendly 
scrub, and, finally, disappears from my gaze. 
May luck go with him 1 Venison stew and 
venison soup are a welcome change in my 
home minu^ and then — such peace and good-will 

95 



My Garden in the City of (xardens 

^^— ^1^^— ^^■^^^— ■■■■ I 111 I ^ ^ »■■■■■■■■■ I ■ ■ I I ■ ■■ ■ I ■ - ■ ■■■■■IB ■ ■ fc ■ I ■ ■» » ^^M^^^^^Wfc 

to all men, when one has had a successful day 
after buck I But there's many a slip, etc* 
Talk of their " innocent noses/* Really, for a 
professional poacher in early youth, as tradition 
avers Shakespeare to have been, he did not 
betray his usual insight into character when he 
thus wrote of the deer. The black buck are 
anything but innocent, especially those round 
Lakhnao. They have so many foes to contend 
against besides the sahib who, with the modem 
weapon of precision, fells them, unseen, at 
two hundred yards. Tommy Atkins is now 
allowed to carry a rifle, and he does not always 
draw the line at buck. A doe makes just as 
good a change in his minu of ration beef. Then 
there are the roving bands of gypsies, unarmed, 
indeed, but, as are all their race, skilled in 
woodcraft, and adepts at poaching. They snare 
a herd by drawing a string round them in some 
mysterious and stealthy manner. 

Meantime I have drawn up into the dust by 
the roadside, and have alighted. The chokra 
has removed the Slave from the shafts, and has 
vanished out of sight with him in the direction 
of a pool of water we marked down a mile 
away. I gaze round the horizon, and draw a 
long breath. I am at last alone 1 

Experience has taught that a combination of 

96 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



the carriage-cushion, the lunch-basket, and the 
trunk of one of the trees with which the Govern- 
ment of India, with much forethought, adorns 
each side of their high-roads, make a lounge not 
to be despised. Of course I have a book, but, 
just now, I hardly feel inclined to read. It is 
so delightful, so refreshing, this utter loneliness, 
in the fresh morning air — such a mental tonic. 
There is hardly a living thing within sight. A 
flight of green pigeons come whirling down 
through the trees ; had the Captain Sahib 
been here he would have taken toll. But they 
all flash on to the nearest crops, to take toll 
there on their own account. The ubiquitous 
sparrow tribe has a morning bath in the white 
dust at a safe distance from my presence, but 
they, too, soon flutter jabbering and squab- 
bling away. Slowly, some unclean bird of prey, 
carrion crow or turkey buzzard — I could not 
make out which — comes winging over the waste. 
He is evidently suffering from repletion, for 
he stays his flight for a while on the tree-top, 
a repulsive object, bald-headed, obscene. But 
then his " innocent nose " probably told him of 
that mud-buflfalo who had recently ended a 
melancholy career near the dry jhil hard by, 
and he, too, departs to try if he can manage 
any dessert. So I was left quite alone with 

97 H 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

my book, and I " went home " for a while. 
Such is the power of imagination — it blesses 
him that gives and him that receives. 

Suddenly, I was rudely awakened. From 
the road behind me came a great bellow. Down 
went my book, up I sprang 1 I was no longer 
alone, for, advancing directly towards me, was 
a large, cream-coloured Brahmini bull with a 
huge fat hump, a shaggy black mane, and a 
very fine idsso profundo of his own. 

I surmise he was as surprised as myself. 
Never, probably, in all his sacred life — he was a 
Brahmin bull, a piny or dedicated bull, a votive- 
ofFering to Shiva — had he set eyes on a white 
woman. Little did I resemble the village 
maids and matrons who, at religious festivals, 
hung wreaths of marigolds and jasmine round 
his neck, and daubed his fat flanks with an 
open hand painted in scarlet. And what busi- 
ness had I there ? Was not he, the earthly 
embodiment of Shiva's steed, free of the land, 
free to roam hither and thither, to pilfer the 
crops and the grain-seller's shops ? Did I dare 
to stand in his path ? 

Yes, I did — for a few moments — ^admir- 
ing him exceedingly — he was such a fine 
fellow, such a contrast to his wretched relations, 
slaves of the ploughshare and the hackri^ that 

98 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

well-covered shoulder that had never felt a yoke, 
that waving tail with the black tuft at end 
which had never been twisted — such is the 
odour of sanctity ! A sudden realization of 
the sharp cleavage in mediaeval times between 
the Falstaffian friar and the serf of the soil, was 
borne in upon me, when — down went his head 
with a toss of his black horns, his hoofs pawed 
the dust one moment undecidedly, and then, 
with a bellow, he came for me. 

I was, as I have said, utterly alone. Never 
have I less enjoyed the feeling of solitude. 
Never have I so longed for a crowd. I looked 
round, wildly, for a sight of the Captain Sahib 
and his rifle. But the black buck were still 
breakfasting, peacefully unaware of his stealthy 
approach. 

The chokra — the Slave ? I was equal to 
jumping on to the latter's back, and even the 
Slave, surely, would break into a canter if 
pursued by a mad bull ? The chokra^ that 
'cute infant, he should be able to devise a 
means of escape ? The chokra to the rescue i 
But no, not a glimpse of the pair. The Slave, 
having drunk his fill in the pool a mile off, 
was probably taking his feed leisurely off the 
chokra s turban spread on the ground, while 
that person, his bare little black pate pillowed 

99 



My Qarden in the City of Gardens 

in the dust, was making up for a very matutinal 
start. 

Not that there was time to think of these 
things. Facts, however, remained. I was 
alone, saving for the bull, and between him and 
me stood only the tum^tum — a poor, transparent 
shelter, and evidently a mystery to the bull, 
who seemed disposed instantly to investigate it. 

The Forest Department ot the Govern- 
ment of India have a practise, which at that 
moment I felt I could not sufficiently con- 
demn, of lopping the branches off the road- 
side trees to the distance of about eight 
feet. In the hot weather this allows a nice 
current of air to circulate on the road ; it 
also prevents the depredations of the goats, 
who, standing on their hind legs, gnaw at any- 
thing green they can reach. In the present 
instance, this custom circumvented me as much 
as the goats — circumvented, indeed, any one but 
a monkey. So two courses lay open to me — 
to take to the open, where I should probably 
be run down, or to dissemble, like a Drury 
Lane villain. 

I dissembled. While his Most Sacred 
Majesty's horns investigated the tum^tutHj turned 
over the lunch-basket, sent the cushion flying, 
and while his hoofs pawed my book into the 

200 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

dust, I pursued a stealthy and circuitous course 
upon his flank from tree-trunk to tree-trunk, 
till I had successfully placed quite a good 
stretch of road between us. Then I sat down 
in the dust, and wished some one — any one — 
would come. 

Mine enemy gradually took himself off. 
His bellows grew feinter and fainter in the 
distance, as he disappeared to some dhdl crop 
he wot of, there to browse and take his noon- 
tide nap. 

After awhile came the Captain Sahib, hot, 
hungry, and empty-handed. The black buck 
had sniflFed him ere he got within range, and 
in a series of magnificent leaps had hurled 
themselves into covert and out of sight. I 
told him how he had missed larger game. 
Even at the risk of raising a native riot, it 
might have been necessary to shoot a sacred 
bull. 



lOI 



My Garden m the City of Gardens 



I HAVE been very busy having the NipAl 
pepper, picked a litde while ago, and 
now dry, ground and bottled, to send 
away as Christmas presents. I grew it 
from seeds sent me from Nip&l, and it is 
much more delicate and aromatic in flavour 
than the pepper made from the ordinary bright 
red chilies, and less hot. There are two kind 
of chilies, and they ripen at the end of the 
rains, growing in bushes about two feet high. 
The NipAl pepper chili is the smaller and 
yellower in colour. Green parrots positively 
gloat on chilis, and, what is worse, destroy and 
waste more than they eat. 



I02 



My Garden in the City of. Gardens 



THE Fever Fiend has had a slap at me, 
and, in common with very many 
other people in the station, I have 
been down with dengue. This 
odious, but not deadly, epidemic is a compara- 
tively recent importation into India, some say 
from Aden. Hence the name " Aden-Ague," 
contracted into dengue. But for the name or 
the derivation one cares not a jot when one 
is in its grip. And a grip it is ! My back 
has been bowed, immovably, my limbs beyond 
my control — ^and oh I the aches and pains I It 
is all the resvdt of the sudden oncoming of 
the cold. I felt I was in for a bout as I sat 
shivering a few days ago over the fire in my 
sealskin at 3 p.m. But nitre and quinine have 
done their work, and to-day I am creeping 
about, feeling rather less than eighty years of 
age. 



103 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



WE have had a very serious day. 
Our Paddy wanted a new polo- 
pony for a friend, and asked us 
down to the serai and help him 
buy one. The Giptain Sahib could no more 
resist this invitation than could I one to help 
choose a new hat for a friend. So, hearing there 
was a fresh string of ponies come in for sale, 
down we drove to the outskirts of the native 
city. It was a most appropriate occupation for 
the day before Christmas Day, for a caravanserai 
always brings home to me so forcibly the story 
of the Nativity. The seraiy ^s it is yclept for 
short, is merely a walled-in square, common to 
all Eastern lands, defended by a stout and high 
wooden gate. On the inside, built against the 
wall, are a row of little dim and dingy cells 
where the human occupants of the serai live 
and move and have their being, for the time of 
the sojourn, cooking their food, each over their 
special little cow-dung fire (in this woodless 
land), and piling high in the centre their goods 
and chattels or merchandise, covered by a thick 
felt rug, often roughly embroidered. 

Inside the square reigned chaos and con- 
fusion — a medley of animals' legs and heels, and 
hoofs of several kinds, a crowd of unkempt, 

104 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

dirty, wild-looking men. One threaded one's 
way carefully. There were beasts of burden 
— ^horses, mules, donkeys, camels, bullocks 
(humped- and straight-backed), and even an 
elephant — all mostly picketed by head- and 
heel-ropes to tent-pegs. The camels gene- 
rally sat in a circle, noses inward, their bales 
piled in the middle, munching and crunching 
with great jaws active, and, all the while, twist- 
ing their long snake-like necks about to look 
at one out of the corners of their evil eyes. 
I am always duly thankful, when I have to 
approach its vicinity, to find a camel sitting ; 
it has such an unpleasant habit of being sharp 
and nippy with its teeth, and a knack of letting 
out with its horny hind leg. 

The bullocks were various — great cream- 
coloured humped beasts, trotting bullocks some, 
that go at a fair pace in a hooded shigram. 
Others, slow and sad, that only lumber about 
with a hakri (a waggon), or a ploughshare, at a 
funereal pace. Then, again, there were the small 
active little oxen that carry bales on their backs. 
The shigram and the hakri were packed in a 
corner, along with one of that queerest of 
vehicles, a camel-carriage. It always reminds 
me, when I meet it on the road, of the circus 
procession of my childhood, as it made its 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

triumphal entry into a country town. Tall, 
with bars all round the sides, and often two- 
storied, it contains, not the lions or the tigers, 
but a closely packed wedge of squatting natives 
and their bundles, who thus are conveyed over 
the sandy, unmetalled roads at something rather 
faster than a walk. 

But our Mecca was the horse-lines. Thither 
we arrived in safety to find a knot of Afghan 
horse-dealers just come down country from 
their native mountains, with a string of 
Caboolis, Beloochis, and Waziris for sale. 
Wild, squealing customers, most of them, 
and their fierce-looking owners in "sheep- 
skins the skinny side out,*' with their matted 
hair and beards, and their treacherous Tartar 
eyes, are more than a match for the newly 
joined British sub on the look-out for a pig- 
sticker or charger. The game little Beloochis 
and Waziris, from a horsey land where racing 
is a national pastime, with their quaint, lyre-like 
ears, have travelled far with the caravans from 
the north, along with the dried grapes in boxes, 
and the Persian pussy cats. The Amir has 
taken toll of them — so much for the horses, 
less for the mares, and his pick of the stallions 
in the drove. 

We noted a Rajah's rough-rider, wily, and 

io6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

like the rest of his master's hangers-on, with a 
keen eye to commissions and perquisites. He 
was evidently attracted by some white stallions 
from Kathiawar. His taste apparently ran to a 
piebald, or leopard spots, and he seemed par- 
ticularly partial to a pink Roman nose and 
uncanny, light-coloured eyes. Chacun d son 
goUt. After an infinity of haggling, he will 
probably remove one to the tumble-down 
stables of the Rajah's palace, and subject him 
for weeks long to a cruel tying down of his 
head, and a tension of ropes to fore and hind 
feet till his legs stand out from his body un- 
naturally, and his neck becomes quite deformed 
by a preposterous arch. Then he will proceed 
to stuff him with ^A^^-balls and other messes, 
as if he were a Strasburg goose. When the 
education of the unfortunate steed is quite 
complete, he will be dyed scarlet or pink 
as to mane and tail. His body, a mere 
mountain of fat, will be further adorned by 
gaudy trappings and silver bangles, and sur- 
mounted by a huge peaked saddle; a cruel 
bit will be thrust into his mouth, his neck 
will be hung with red reins, and, thus capari- 
soned, and bestridden by a potentate almost 
as fat as himself, he will make a brave show 
in the eyes of the admiring native crowd 

107 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

when the Rajah sallies forth a-riding in solemn 
procession. 

We passed on one side a couple of " walers " 
from far Australia — " servants of the Queen " 
probably from some British regiment, who 
have seen better days and are now " cast," poor 
brutes — ^and devoted ourselves to the ponies. 
Times are bad, this famine year, and there 
were village herdmen with country-bred ** tat- 
toos " for sale. The family hack had evidently 
suffered along with his master. Lean to 
shadowiness, cat-hammed, curby-hocked, un- 
kempt, and possessed of a fiendish temper, 
none the less Our Paddy and the Captain Sahib 
eyed him critically. For there is often a dash 
of distinctly blue Arab blood in these " tats," 
and many a noted performer between the goals 
has been bought out of the shafts of an ekka^ 
rescued from dragging along half a dozen fat 
tradesmen in a canopied " tea-tray on wheels," 
from being mouthed with the cruel "thorn- 
bits," and hung about the while with bells, 
the cart adorned with loose metal plates which 
clash like cymbals, to cheer him on his way. 

Next to these poor drudges a Cabooli horse- 
dealer had a litde group of wild-looking little 
Himalayan ponies, sturdy little beasts, born 
and bred in severe climates, gunthsy yabus^ 

io8 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

bhuHaSy fit, as Kipling puts it, ^^to carry a 
church and climb its steeple." So engrossed 
did we all become over a closer investigation 
of these that we were unaware of the passing 
in our immediate proximity of a string of pack- 
mules tied head to tail. Now, a mule is an 
animal from which I always keep at a most 
respectful distance. The writhing head of a 
camel, with its huge chawing teeth, is a thing 
to avoid ; a must* elephant breaking from the 
swaying tree to which he is chained, and run- 
ning amuck down the road, seizing and tramp- 
ling on every object, animate or inanimate, 
that comes within reach of his trunk, is not to 
be encountered unadvisably or unawares ; and 
I give a wide berth to a country-bred of uncer- 
tain temper darting suddenly forward with his 
teeth bared. But for demoniacal deftness of 
hoof and tooth give me a mule. 

The noise in tl\p caravanserai was so great 
that most of the words of wisdom that fell 
from the lips of Our Paddy and the Captain 
Sahib, as they measured " hands " and investi- 
gated teeth, were lost upon me. The mules 
screamed and snarled and fought, the desert- 
born stallion neighed wildly, and the unearthly 
gurgling of the camels mingled with the shrill 
trumpeting of some Rajah's elephant tethered 

109 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

in a corner. Presently, however, I was aware 
that Our Paddy, a true Irishman, a perfect 
mine of wisdom where a horse is concerned, 
had lit upon something worth his attention. 
He decided to try him. A native led out of 
the turmoil a small, thin, angular country-bred, 
which kept glancing at us suspiciously out of 
the corner of his eye. We followed, at a 
respectful distance from his heels, through 
the great gate into a waste place without, 
where the beggars and the pariah dogs congre- 
gate. Here Our Paddy proposed to bestride 
his possible purchase. For a few minutes 
we watched him hopping alongside the pony 
cautiously on one foot, waiting for an auspicious 
second in which to throw his leg over him. 
The pony edged away coyly, and the noble 
owner, hanging on like grim death to its head, 
suffered himself to be almost dragged along in 
the sand by the refractory beast. After a 
while this performance heated and irritated and 
palled upon Our Paddy, who began to abuse 
the owner's tactics. But in vain. That wicked 
eye, peering so satanically white (we are told 
that Lucifer is an angel of light, a son of the 
morning, so I may be allowed my metaphor, I 
trust) out of the corner of its socket, that 
ever ready hoof, were too much for them. 

no 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Compelled to resort to stratagem, one coolie 
flings a cloth over the pony*s face, another seizes 
and holds up a fore leg. In an instant Our 
Paddy is on, and off — careering wildly over the 
waste, trying the turning powers of the bucking, 
kicking, rearing little brute, and scattering the * 
beggars and the crows and the pariah dogs to 
the four winds. 

At the polo-ground to-morrow we shall pro- 
bably hear that Our Paddy has bought that 
pony for his friend. He will then spend some 
loving care on his appearance, docking his tail, 
elaborately hogging his mane, and leaving only 
what he calls an after-dinner mounting-lock, 
upon his withers. Then he will send him by 
road to his friend, some days* journey off, the 
pony, with his groom, sleeping in the open, 
and possibly sharing his forage with his atten- 
dant, but, in the end, turning up, safe and 
sound, at his destination, and, in all probability, 
thanks to Our Paddy's sapience, proving a 
lucky investment for his master. 



Ill 



My Garden in the CUy of Grordena 



<* What thall he have who killed the deer ? 
His leathern skin and horns to wear 1 '^ 

THE Captain Sahib has taken the 
Globe Trotter out into the district, 
and has caused him to shoot a black 
buck, bringing it home in triumph 
in the bamboo cart, behind with the chokra. The 
Globe Trotter is in consequence much pleased 
with India in general, and with himself in par- 
ticular. I am pleased, too, for I have ordered deer 
fry and bacon for breakfast, and deer soup for 
dinner, with venison the day after, and have 
invited the Globe Trotter to come and partake 
thereof. At this moment, however, he and 
the Captain Sahib are intent in the back 
verandah on an operation of so sanguinary a 
character, that, though they will result in the 
horns and leathern skin pertaining to the Globe 
Trotter, yet cause me to flee from that portion 
of my abode. 

However, I will describe the Captain Sahib*s 
methods, as they look prettier on paper than in 
the reality. 

A skin is a skin, be it that of a tiger or of 
the domestic rat, and the same treatment applies 
as to curing it. But the preservation of a skin 
which is hung up, walked on, or sat on, is 

112 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

very different to that of a bird which will be 
shut up from the dust in a glass case. 

Lay the animal in the shade on its back, 
and with a sharp knife make a long, straight, 
but not too deep, cut, from the centre of the 
lower jaw to the end of the tail. Then cut the 
legs down on the underneath side till the cut 
down the centre of the body is reached. Separate 
the skin from the body. If the animal has 
been badly shot, wash the skin thoroughly in 
cold soap and water. Place it in water for 
twenty-four hours. Then take it out and 
scrape it well from any fat ; skin the ears on 
the inside, and plunge it into a hot solution of 
one part salt and two parts alum, and just 
enough water to cover the skin. The solution 
should not be hotter than the hand can bear, 
and the skin should be left in it for twenty-four 
hours. Then stretch the skin on a board, hair 
downwards, nailing it with tacks round the 
edge. Be careful to get it the proper shape, 
and to see that one side is not more stretched 
than the other. Next apply a paste made of 
one part finely pounded alum and two parts 
chalk. When this is dry, beat it off with a 
stick, and apply more, as long as the skin seems 
to contain any grease. After this remove the 
skin from the board, when quite dry, and the 

113 X 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

more it is rubbed with the hand the softer it 
will become. 

Another process is to wash the skin well, and 
to peg it out on the ground or on a board, to 
rub it well with wood ashes, and to sprinkle it 
with carbolic and water in proportion of one 
of medicated crystal carbolic acid to forty of 
water. Then, with a knife, scrape the skin most 
thoroughly from every particle of flesh or fat, 
and rub in more wood-ash till there is no grease 
left. Then keep the skin perfectly dry. No 
skin or fur, whether tanned or not, should ever 
be put in the sun. A good shaking and hang- 
ing out in the air is the best thing for it. 

It is obvious that when a skin is to be used 
as a rug, the application of arsenic or other 
poisons is out of the question, though this rule 
does not apply to an animal which will be put 
in a glass case. In this latter case an incision 
is made between the fore legs and down the 
belly, large enough to allow of the animal's 
body being extracted. The skin, when properly 
cleaned from fat and flesh, is plunged into the 
carbolic acid and water solution. After lying 
in this for a week, it can be taken out and 
freely anointed with arsenical soap before it is 
set up. 

The treatment of the head of a horned animal 

114 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

is somewhat different. It should be cut off, 
with a long neck, within six or eight hours of 
the death of the beast. Cut the skin down the 
back of the neck as far as the two horns. If 
the animal have no horns, this is unnecessary. 
If it have spiral horns, cut only up to one and 
round the other. Then remove the skin entirely 
from the skull, taking care that the eyes are not 
injured, as round them is a most delicate place, 
the skin being so thin, and lying so near the 
bone. The head can then be hung up in an 
out-house and scraped and cleaned at leisure. 
Saw off a bit of the skull and remove the brains. 
On no account lose the lower jaw-bones when 
they become detached. 

Horns that will come off the bone, as an 
antelope*s or sheep's or goat*s, can be soaked for 
a day or two in a tub of water a week or two 
after the animal has been killed. 

Now wash the skin well in soap and water, 
removing all the pieces of flesh. Split the lips 
and skin up the ears from the inside as far as 
you can, removing as much flesh from them as 
can be filled in afterwards with cotton wool, and 
not detected from outside when the head is set 
up. Then place the skin in a jar of carbolic 
acid and water, enough to cover it, and one 
part to forty, and there let it remain for six or 

"5 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

eight weeks, till opportunity occurs to set the 
head up. It can even be packed and sent away 
in this as if it were in pickle. Should the skin 
be much stained with extravasated blood, a few 
hours' soaking in water will draw it out. 

Now for the setting-up process. Take the 
skull and fasten the upper and lower jaws 
together in their places with wire. Set the 
skull on a wooden neck of the same length as 
the natural one, and set this neck on a varnished 
wooden shield to hang against the wall. Be 
careful to set the head at a natural angle to the 
neck. A deer holds his nose very high, a pig 
very low. If preferred, this shield can be dis- 
pensed with, and the staple by which the head 
is to be hung fixed on the wooden neck 
through the skin. 

In many cases a solid wooden neck would be 
too heavy ; but a small one filled out with tow, 
and fastened into the hole in the skull through 
which the brains were extracted, will answer 
the purpose equally well. 

The cavities of the eyes should be filled with 
putty, and some wool put under the jaws, some 
putty to form the nose and to give it thickness. 
Then insert the eyes. In the case of a large 
animal the Captain Sahib has made these out 
of a French wine-bottle by breaking out the 

ii6 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

kick of the bottom. Frequently we have had 
out cases of white glass eyes from home, and 
have painted them at the back the right colour. 
While on the subject of eyes, it may be men- 
tioned that carnivorous animals have the light 
in the 'eye down the eye from top to bottom, 
while graminivorous animals have it across. 

Take the skin out of the solution, and smear 
the inside well with a paste of arsenical soap. 
Put some wool into the ears, and draw the skin 
over the skull like a glove. Sew up the cut at 
the back with a shoemaker's awl. With a few 
tacks nail the skin on to the shield, and put a 
few stitches into the mouth to keep it properly 
dosed. 

A pinch and a touch here and there will set 
the head, as it dries into its natural form. When 
nearly dry, comb and brush the hair well. 

A common mistake is to put wool or putty 
where there is no meat, which detracts from 
the wild look of the animal. 

Only use white medicated carbolic acid 
crystal; it liquefies in a litde warmth. It is 
a poison, and will burn hands and clothes if 
not properly handled. The antidote is oil. 
But when used in the proportion of one to 
forty of water, it will do no harm. 

The nose and lips of a head can be touched 

117 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

up with a little Brunswick black and the horns 
oiled. 

I think our Globe Trotter will be very pleased 
with the final result of his somewhat unsavoury 
occupation. The black buck horns — they are 
very fine, some twenty-four inches — will look 
well on the dark oak paneling of his ancestral 
hall among the foxes' masks chased by dead-and- 
gone, hard-riding squires, and the skin spread 
in front of an ample hearth will form a comfy 
couch for the terriers — ^various. He will be 
reminded of us poor exiles for whom there 
was no going home when the meets began, but 
who did our utmost to show him our India at 
its best. 



ii8 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



y^HRISrMAS DAT.— Our demesne is in 

m J Christmas guise. The whitewashed 

V-^ pillars on the mud bank which enclose 

it, and which mark the entrance, are 

surmounted by an arch of string, to which 

marigolds are tied by their stalks, a few, very 

few, green leaves between — the approved style 

of native decoration. Marigolds are the 

favourite flowers in native gardens. How 

topsy-turvy the world is out here — Christmas 

decorations of what Shakespeare calls the 

" flowers of middle summer *' 1 

A similar arch decks the entrance to the 
verandah, and the servants have further, for 
the sahib's "big day," stuck palm branches 
against the pillars. Seated in state, we received 
' our ddlis in the verandah. One by one, each 
domestic approached with much salaaming, 
bearing trays of flowers, and cakes, and 
horrible sticky sweetmeats, receiving in return 
baksheesh. 

The barn-like church was gorgeous with ferns 
and palms, while scarlet poinsettia leaves gave 
the holly-berry touch, of colour ; and the now 
bare punkah poles were wreathed with arhor 
vike. The band played with extra unction, 
bursting at the conclusion of the service into 

119 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the Hallelujah Chorus. Then it played the 
men home to barracks and their great spread 
of Christmas fare at two o'clock. Our own 
especial soldiery feasted on the turkeys and 
geese we had raised in the/a^-work enclosed 
poultry-yard near the cook-house, supplemented 
with my rozel jam tarts. The Captain Sahib, 
returning from a ceremonial inspection of the 
banquet, reported that they had decorated their 
barrack-rooms with elaborate greenery, and that 
pink and white paper roses, so beloved of 
Tommy, enshrined our crest and suitable 
complimentary mottoes. Truly, indeed, did 
Voltaire write to the dyspeptic Margravine, 
*' C*est Testomac qui fait les heureux 1 " 

A special feature of the Christmas Day service 
in India is the gathering of Eurasians. In the 
dim, remote parts of the ugly, shed-like building 
sit the whitey-brown rows of sad-faced men and 
women and children, in native-made European 
clothes, and the women, for the most part, in 
white veils. They do not seem to come to 
church in such numbers at any other time, but 
on Christmas Day would appear to cling to the 
faith of their fathers. 

Our own minu on Christmas Eve was soup 
of tomatoes grown in our own garden from 
English seed, also French beans and new peas, 

220 



^ 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

not the tinned article which pervades Indian 

dinner-parties. My scarlet-runners are now 

doing grandly. They have gone on for two 

or three years from English seed, of course 
muph irrigated. 



121 



J, • • -I— — ' - --w K- - - — - ^ . _ - ^ ,|_ 



1> • . » 



• 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THE roses in the public gardens — 
where, of course, they grow better 
kinds than we do— «re just now 
glorious. They almost defy de- 
scription, such perfect flowers, such masses ! 
RoseSy roses everyvrfiere ! 

"What a pother have authors made with 
roses ! What a racket they have kept I " ex- 
claims old Culpepper, the author of the 
" Astrologo-Botanical Discourse on Herbs," 
1641. 

Perhaps could he have seen the roses in the 
Residency Gardens, and in the Baghs round 
about the city, he would have forgiven us. 
Old Rapin, too, would have been ev^ more 
bewildered with the variety and profusion than 
when he wrote — 

*< I cannot all the Species rehearse, 
Of roses in the narrow bounds of verse, 
Some curled, some waved, about the tops are found. 
And others with a thousand leaves are crowned. 
Through which the flaming colours do appear ; 
Others are single, not t^insist on here, 
Either the Damask or the ' Mimidian * Rose, 
Or Cistus, that in Lusitania grows, 
Roses unarmed.'^ 

Two hundred years ago, in "Nature Dis- 
played,*' was writ this pretty tribute to the 
Queen of Flowers — 

123 



''<1'*1 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

^< Would not one be apt to say that at least 
the most lovely of all the flower tribe are 
separated from the Commonalty of Flowers, 
in order to form an Embassy ; and that they 
advance to render Homage to their Lord, and 
are deputed to hail him King of Nature ? " 

My rozel jam of red leaves has been so much 
appreciated by our cohort at their Christmas 
dinner that I have half a mind to try the fol- 
lowing old-world recipe, from — 

" A Queen's delight ; the Art of Preserving, 
Conserving, and Candyfying, also a right Know- 
ledge of making Perfumes and distilling the 
most Excellent Waters. Never before pub- 
lished. Printed at the Angel in Cornhill, 
1656." 

" To make conserves of Roses unboyled." 

" Take a pound of red rose leaves, the whites 
cut oflF, stamp them very fine, take a pound of 
sugar and beat in with the Roses, and put it in 
a pot, and cover it with leather and sit in a 
cool place." 

But the British soldier is a precious thing in 
India, and in this country one cannot play tricks 
with the digestion. A vigilant Government 
might misconstrue my well-meant intentions. 
Also, in a very few weeks' time the " cool place," 
" to sit it in," will be undiscoverable. So I make 

123 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

over the recipe to the Grasse people in Pro- 
vence, where they " candify " violets. Enthu- 
siasts on the new diet craze, living, like my 
monkey, on nuts, are likewise welcome to it, 
and may find roses a pleasing variety. 



124 



My Garden^ in the City of Gardens 



Tk JEW rEAKS EFE.—Wt are aU 
/ 1/ somewhat apt to grow retrospective 
-^ ^ at the close of the year, and nowhere 
more than in the Land of Regrets. 
Perhaps it is owing to the depression of spirits 
produced by the advent of the annual bills 
and the pessimistic horrors of the Christmas 
numbers, which are kindly sent out extra early 
from home to reach us in time. Perhaps, too, 
the attempt to assimilate old English fare in 
a tropical climate, has something to do with it. 
Especially is this the case with those who 
have reached the " halfway house " of life, and 
whose hair, whose hopes, whose digestions, and 
whose illusions are not what they once were. 
We stand, as it were, on the summit of the hill 
of life. On one side we look down into the 
freshly green, sunny vale of youth ; on the 
other, in the dark valley below, glowers the dark 
forest of old age, "dim with the mist of years." 
Behind us are rising already those gaunt spectres 
of the follies and mistakes of youth. Already 
within us we feel, both mentally and physically, 
the slackening of the silver cord, the little rift 
in the lute, which, presently, will destroy the 
whole harmony of the instrument. In our ears 
already rings the warning knell — Tout passe^ 

125 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

tout cassCy tout lasscy as we turn over the closed 
chapters of the "might-have-beens," and the 
thought of our past years breeds in us anything 
but " perpetual benediction." 

If life is a straight and narrow (or, perhaps, a 
broad !) way, these " might-have-beens " are its 
cul'de-sacSy its impasses. Over their entrance 
should have been written " No thoroughfare," 
likewise, "Abandon hope, all ye that enter 
here." But ambition, yearning, hope, taking 
the wrong turning, rushed headlong in, only to 
find themselves fatally blocked. And thus it 
came to pass, as Whittier sings — 

" God pity them both, God pity us all, 
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall, 
For of all the sad words on tongue and on pen, 
The saddest of all is, * it might have been." '^ 

As a certain place is currently reputed to be 
paved with good intentions, so our photograph 
albums and our prisons are peopled with might- 
have-beens. With what a shudder we gaze at 
the old-fashioned dresses, the odd hirsute ap- 
pendages of the admirations of our youth, and 
recall thankfiiUy the lucky silence, the fortuitous 
interruption, which stopped the fatal words, and 
relegated him or her to the closed chapters of 
the might-have-beens. 

Then the colonies are full of them. What 

126 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



are the " tramps '\ of the States, the " sun- 
downers " of Australia, but might-have-beens ? 
Now and again the papers remind us of the 
career of an old friend, a former schoolfellow. 
They are " gone under " in more senses than 
ojtie, thrown away into the vast dust-heap of 
might-have-beens. Yet we thought so much 
of them, we expected such great things ! At 
this season they are apt to remind us of the 
days that are no more by writing to ask us for 
money. 

Chaucer started the fallacy that — 



" of fortune's sharp adversitie. 
The worst kind of misfortune is this, 
A man that has been in prosperitie 
And it remembers when it passed is." 

Dante took it up and enshrined it in golden 
lines, and Tennyson stamped it as truth. 



(( 



That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things/' 



One and all are altogether wrong. But then 
none of these poets were might-have-beens, or 
they would have known better, or, rather, worse. 
For, for utter remorse and despair, the fuimi 
are not in it with the might-have-beens. 
Napoleon at St. Helena, at least, had some- 
thing glorious to look back upon. Had the 
Suez Canal silted up, De Lesseps would not 

127 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

have died of a broken heart It was the might- 
have-been of Panama that killed him. It is 
better to have been and lost, than never to have 
been at all. 

Oh, the vanity, the self-deception of the might- 
have-beens ! No one, according to them, not the 
wife of their bosom, or their dearest friend, is 
ever fully able to appreciate the latent promise, 
the infinite possibilities, that lurked within them. 
No one but themselves ever fully appreciates, 
or feels so cruelly, that untoward accident, that 
ill-turned chance, that blighted their hopes and 
their ambitions, and drove them into that fatal 
cul'de-sac ! Whatever others may think, they 
themselves know, they say, that it was not their 
own fault, directly, and that the bottle, the cards, 
the weak will, the vacillating mind, the dogged 
obstinacy, the overweening self-assurance, had 
nothing whatever to do with it. 

'< He that would not when he might, 
He shall not when he wolda/' 

In some way or other are we not all ** Baffled 
Knights," and, in our heart of hearts, do we 
not each know ourselves for a might-have-been ? 

But enough of these moralizings. I must go 
and dress for a ladies' dinner-party at the mess, 
where, at midnight, we shall all join hands round 
the table, and sing " Auld Lang Syne." 

128 



JANUARY 

"Gather ye rosebuds lyhilt ye may, 
Old Time is still a-flying." 



I — - .--...- « 

i 

1 
I 



1 



JANUARY 



NEW YEAR'S DAY in the Land of 
Regrets ! What will the New 
Year bring us ? I always feel, in 
spite of the glorious sunshine, the 
fun and the friends, that one is living over a 
volcano. There are such changes in India, so 
rapid, so sudden. One's daily companion, 
one's own familiar friend, is moved on — to 
another station, or " home," or only just down 
the Mall to the cemetery, high-walled, for fear 
of the jackals. 

But these are sad thoughts when one sits 
surrounded with such a rich, warm glow of 
colour as I do now in the verandah — starry 
scarlet poinsettias, set in their laureUike rich 
green leaves, nasturtiums, begonias, purplish 
and orange {venu5td)y rich cockscombs, and 
lupins, " Figge beans," as old Parkinson calls 
them, adding, " Other foolish names have 
been given them, as Virginia Roses, and the like, 
by knavish gardeners, and others, to deceive 
men and make them believe they were finders 
out and great preservers of rarities, as you 
would therefore avoyde Knaves and deceivers, 

131 K 2 



My Garden in the City of Gar.den8 

beware of these manner of people, whereof the 
skirts of our toune are so pitifully pestered." 

I am sure that Parkinson, in prophetic 
spirit, must have been alluding to Indian 
domestics. Greater knaves and deceivers I 
have never met, and almost every day they 
invent some new form of treachery. What 
dips my pen at this moment in g^ is the 
passage across the forbidden land of the front 
drive of a flight of my washerman's children. 
And how do you think they are clad ? Their 
little brown shaven skvdls, their skinny arms 
and legs, protrude beyond a simple, archaic 
garment evolved out of my best new English 
dusters of blue-and-white check. So this has 
been the destiny of these choice products of 
my linen almairahy or wardrobe (a Portuguese 
word, by-the-by). Weekly, for some time 
past, when the clean linen was brought home 
upon the patient microscopic donkey's back, 
and subsequendy spread out in the back 
verandah for me to check — weekly, I say, have 
I not been confronted with torn rags as dusters 
and the like, while the bearer, the table- 
waiter, the scullion, the cook, the ayahy the 
sweeper, and the grooms, all clamoured for new 
and whole ones to replace them I Truly there 
is much collusion among the *' knaves and 

132 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

deceivers " wherewith I and the skirts of my 
compound are so " pitifully pestered." 

Queen Mab writes to me from the Pun- 
jaub that she saw the frost and ice hanging 
round the ripe oranges in her garden early 
one morning lately. What a shock William 
Morris would have had, for he makes the 
orange tree say — 

** Amid the greenness of my night, 
My odorous lamps hung round and bright." 

Likewise Goethe, who brings in the mixture of 
gold and dark green as a whifF to Mignon of 
her southern home. 

It is cold enough here. We have a fire all 
day, and a roaring one in the great chimney in 
the evening. But we have sold our orange 
crop to the g^dener, to prevent him stealing 
them, and he, in his turn, has protected 
them — 

^ With Mother and Boy that alarum can cry, 
And let them be armed with sling and with bowe 
To skare away piggen, the rooke and the crowe," 

as old Tusser recommended as long ago as 
1573, in his "Five Hundred Points of Good 
Husbandrie." 

But this morning the guard caught bigger 
game. I was aroused by piteous wailing from 

U3 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the orange grove by the well. Upon investi- 
gation I discovered a small, nearly nude boy 
tied up to a tree^ It transpired that as he and 
his parents, journeying on a pilgrimage, passed 
down the road, the boy sprang over the garden 
bank, took an orange, and was captured. This 
had happened in the quite early morning, 
hours ago. The parents were already half a 
day's journey oiF. I released the culprit, and 
admonishing him with untold wealth in the 
shape of a rupee (which doubtless the malliy 
pursuing after, compelled him to disgorge), 
sent him to rejoin his relations. 

Some of our orange trees are the Maltese, 
grown from seed brought from Malta. In 
India the fruit is ripe while yet green, but it 
is not of so good a quality as the Mediter- 
ranean kind. The Delhi orange is the best, a 
fine colour and juicy, and the skin peels ofiT 
easily as from a tangerine. 

The loquat is in flower, and give promise 
of plenty of that most delicious fruit. 



134 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



rJVELFTH NIGHT. — In England 
they are taking 4own the Christmas 
decorations, so I have caused the 
strings of marigolds fluttering by 
their stalks over our entrance to be removed. 
The marigolds are flaunting in the garden in 
their usual robustness. The malH is very 
proud of them. I think the marigold may 
be called the national flower of Hindoostan. 
Old English writers, too, admired it muchly. 
Lyte, the predecessor of Gerard, in his Herbal 
in Henry VIII.'s time, calls it "one of the 
plants of the sunne," ** the golden flower of the 
ancients," and says, " It hath pleasant bright 
yellowi floures, the which do close at the setting 
of the sunne and do spread and open again at 
the sunne rising." 

This opening and shutting with the light of 
the " Marybudde " is prettily expressed by 
Carew — 

** Mark how the bashful mom in vain 
Courts the amorous Marigold 
With sighing blasts and weeping rain, 
Yet she refuses to unfold. 
But when the planet of the day 
Approacheth with his powerful ray. 
Then she spreads, then she receives 
His warmer beams into her leaves," 

I3S 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 
And again, Wither, the Roundhead poet — 

** How daily every morning she displays 
Her open breast when Phoebus spreads his rays. 
How when he down declines she weeps and mourns 
Bedewed as *twere with tears till he returns." 

And a still earlier writer, in 1572, differs 
from both— 

'' Such virtue here my marigolds 
Within their Btsdkes enfold $ 
That Phoebus with his burning beams 
Cannot their leaves unfold." 

But marigolds have no virtue in my eyes, 
and their scent I cannot away with. What 
matter ? The hot weather will soon be coming, 
and a thousand sweetnesses unknown out-of- 
doors in England will permeate the air. 

At calling time to-day I was honoured by 
the simultaneous presence of the two bhuri 
mems (biggest ladies) of our community. This 
title is given them by the natives in allusion 
to their exalted social position, but their 
physical proportions also amply justify it. 
The profane Sporting Boy in the "Arden 
Foresters " has dubbed them the " Powerjful " 
and the "Terrible." My heart misgave me 
when I saw the large landaus, drawn by the 
country-bred horses with the pheasants* feathers 
stuck at their ears, drive into my garden. For 

136 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

their occupants are big in more than one 
sense, having battened and fattened on rupees 
and precedence, the uppermost seats in the 
synagogue, the chief places at the feasts. But 
I need not have been so alarmed, as, for a while, 
they entertained each other, almost oblivious 
of my presence, just as if they had not met 
the day before, and were not going to meet 
again that afternoon. Which is the curse of 
society in India, that you can never get away 
from the same set of people. But I digress. 

I felt I was not of their world as they dis- 
coursed, for above my ken, of appointments and 
promotion, of ofBcial status and ofBcial pay. 
Only years of India could have imparted such 
knowledge of these abstruse subjects. Had I 
told them they would have misunderstood 
me, have resented it — I felt sorry for them 
the while. Pompous and overweening they 
were, yet plucky, duty-doing Englishwomen, 
who, in their time, had borne the burden 
and heat of the day — the fever and cholera- 
stricken cold weather, the burning, blasting 
hot one, by the sides of their hardly better 
halves. 

It was some years now since they had been 
" home." The world changes so fast that they 
would almost feel strange when they did go. 

J37 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Many were the farewells they had wept when 
their children left them. These children had 
returned, grown men and women, almost 
strangers to their parents, the sons to their 
regiments or their posts, the daughters, after 
a year or two with the (to them) so sadly not 
up-to-date mother, to marry some far-seeing 
young fellow with an eye to quick promotion 
at the hands of the powers that be* 

Before my two visitors in the not far future 
lay Cheltenham or South Kensington, a good 
pension, perhaps a ^^ handle to their names,'* as 
it is vulgarly yclept — an old age swamped in 
the busy whirl of English life. I could not 
help feeling that the landau, the going in first 
to dinner, the pension, might have been too 
dearly bought. 

But I withdrew my sympathy abruptly, how- 
ever, when they descended to matters sub- 
lunary, and began to talk away their neigh- 
bours' characters. For it transpired that a 
terrible thing had occurred at a very **big 
dinner" two nights before. The pretty litde 
bride of the general's aide-^e-campy with a 
" handle to her name " (only she was born 
with it), but just out from England, had 
actually had the presumption, being palpably 
bored, to rise and take her departure after 

138 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

dinner before the "senior lady" had given 
the signal for the breaking up of the party ! 

My two visitors were tearing the unfortunate 
to shreds when a neat little Ralli cart, also just 
out from England, drove up, containing the 
transgressor herself, arrayed in those very 
fashions they were wont to discuss over the 
ladies* papers at the club, and to try and induce 
their dirzees to imitate. 

For a moment my head whirled. I saw 
an impulse to rise on the part of my stout 
guests. Happily they were leaning well back 
in my most capacious chairs, and it took them 
quite an appreciable moment to get out of 
them. I foresaw a social earthquake — cuts, rows 
— these social matters are sometimes taken up 
officially. As a drowning man clutches at a 
straw, I dragged in headlong the one subject of 
conversation I instinctively felt we should all 
have in common — servants. 

The result was a consideration of the ques- 
tion from two points of view, which was not 
uninstructive. 

To judge by the perpetual questions in the 
ladies' papers respecting outfits for India — 
asking if white drill habits are required in the 
hills ; if a fur coat is useful in Madras, and 
boots two sizes too large a necessity because of 

139 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the rains in Calcutta ; and how many ball dresses 
are indispensable for a police-officer's bride on 
the frontier — one would imagine that the sole 
question of the life of an Englishwoman in 
India was the wherewithal she should be clothed. 
But there are so many other points oh which 
she needs enlightening. For Don Quixote 
riding down Rotten Row would not be more 
out of place than the daughter of a quiet 
country squire or parson, plunged into the 
society of a gay station, or that of the mimic 
courts of Simla or of the Presidency towns. 
Equally a fish out of water would be the 
London girl finding her married life to be 
spent half the year under canvas, with, at most, 
one other European to speak to besides her 
husband, if he be of the governing service, or 
in some branch of engineering. 

For all the good pay, money goes no further 
than in England. Luxuries are necessities, and 
all people have to live much in the same style. 
In the Civil Service the subscriptions to pension 
funds — which are compulsory — press as hard on 
the juniors as do the entertaining and the fre- 
quent moves on the military class. A pony-cart 
is a necessity, even almost to a sergeant-major's 
wife. It is impossible to do without a number 
of servants. Let no one be deluded with the 

140 



^•««i*i 



MM 



My Qarden in the City of Gardens 



apparent affluence which the large-roomed 
bungalows, the carriage and horses, the tribe 
of domestics, would seem to indicate. Though 
wages are low, " many a little mak's a mickle." 
The servants are supposed to cater for them- 
selves, but are only too ready, caste notwith- 
standing, to live on at least the crumbs that 
fall from the master's table. 

Her Little Ladyship, worried, disillusioned, 
and perplexed, was only too thankful to pour 
forth her domestic anxieties into the capacious 
bosoms of the previous arrivals. She had 
begun by paying her khansamah (cook-house- 
keeper) so much a head for herself and her 
husband, allowing a margin for the odd guests 
who perpetually drop in to breakfast and lunch. 
Each morning he brought her a minu for the 
three meals. When she had a dinner-party he 
presented a minu on a diflFerent tariff. The 
young couple lived like fighting-cocks ; an 
immense deal of trouble was saved ; but the 
plan was so extravagant that they began to find 
themselves on the verge of bankruptcy ! 

With the zeal and intolerance of youth her 
Little Ladyship veered therefore into the oppo- 
site extreme. In a land where there are few 
English shops, and these do not send for orders, 
or supply fresh provisions, and the native bazaar 

141 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

is unapproachable for ladies, catering is difficult. 
But she attempted it Daily in the back 
verandah she chose the meat from the butcher's 
basket, saw it weighed, ticketed, and marked 
(lest it should be changed for an inferior joint), 
and locked it up herself in the meat-safe. By 
a personal application of her olfactory nerves she 
had mastered the nice distinction between real 
mutton and soi-^isanty i.e. goats' flesh. Though 
a visit to the dark, dirty hovel of a kitchen 
almost took away her appetite, she ventured 
upon it daily, and checked the account for 
charcoal, also the quantities of bread, eggs, 
butter, and milk used each day. She even 
went so far as to measure the milk and test 
it with a lactometer, though she complained 
that her servants had invented a dodge to cir- 
cumvent even that instrument. Her new 
dusters vanished, and dirty rags cleaned the 
plates and dishes. She kept everything under 
lock and key, doled out the groceries, and the 
eggs, and the wine, and the linen — only to find 
herself cheated at every turn. 

The climate was telling on her, and, added 
to her worries, was making her feverish, weary, 
irritable. She missed her needles from her 
work-basket, her writing-paper firom the blotter ; 
the ayah wore her underlinen, and stole her 

142 



My Crarden in the City of Oardena 

handkerchiefs ; the bearer appropriated the 
money she gave him to pay the other servants 
with. The food palled upon her — the ever- 
lasting fowl, the inferior meat, and dubious fish. 
In every servant she suspected a thief, and 
could trust no one. The sahib, her husband, 
was growing so exasperated with their cheating 
and their laziness, their slowness and stupidity, 
that she daily feared he would emulate the 
example of the explosive subaltern in the Arden 
Foresters, who had recently been had up for 
beating his servant, an old qui hat custom, 
now almost extinct. 

The older women tried to comfort her. 
They told that, though lying is inherent in the 
race, and that they lie as much to each other 
as they do to us, yet there is a code of honour 
among servants, and the headman of each 
department, if he be trusted, will, though 
he take his own perquisites, not allow his 
master to be robbed ; that there is little drink 
among Indian servants ; that they are careful 
and nimble-handed, and break little ; that, as 
far as their ken goes — it is not iar, of course 
— they are watchful, thoughtful, while being 
quiet, gentle, and unobtrusive ; that in times 
of stress they have been found faithful — even 
unto death. The thoughts of both the speakers 

143 



My Gurden in the City of Gardens 

went back to their early youths — ^they had been 
through the Mutiny — and there was a moment's 
silence. Both her Little Ladyship and I fdt 
we had no right to break it. 

Then one spoke again, with a tremble in her 
voice, about the native servants* love and care of 
our children ; of their wonderful patience and 
even temper; of how the fragile little ones, 
fractious and impatient from heat and ill health, 
were never slapped or shaken by their ayahs. 
They told how, above everything, the Indian 
servant shines as an attendant to the sick — so 
soft-footed, gende-handed, patient, watchful, 
skilful in preparing cooling drink and nourish- 
ing diet; how sorrowful and sympathizing 
they are when death enters the house, taking no 
thought of their own rest and food, but grieving 
with, and for, their masters. 

By the time the visit was over all mutual 
asperities had ended too. The threatened storm 
had blown over, and there was peace in my 
drawing-room. Before they parted her Littie 
Ladyship had offered to lend the stoutest bhuri 
menCs tailor one of her new-cut English skirts 
as a pattern ! (My brain reels as I contemplate 
the abstruse mathematical calculations that that 
functionary will have to work out ere he enlarges 
it in due proportion.) In return she was to 

144 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

receive some real old Indian dishes, such as the 
native cooks produce most temptingly. She 
has passed them on to me, and I will vouch 
for their toothsomeness. 



The Moli 

Melt 2 ozs. of butter, and fry therein one 
onion sliced into rings, and a clove garlic 
minced, and a few strips of green chili, some 
slices of green ginger. Stir into it a table-spoon- 
ful of flour, and add by degrees infusion No. 2 
(see below), and a breakfast cupful of thick 
chicken broth or fish consommi^ made by simmer- 
ing some fish bones, prawn shells, or scraps of 
fish in water, with an onion, a carrot, some 
parsley, a heaped-up table-spoonful of green 
ginger, and three green chilies cut into Julienne- 
like strips. 

Work this to the consistency of a rich white 
sauce, adding a little broth if necessary ; heat 
up some slices of cooked fish or chicken in it, 
finishing it off with infusion No. i (see below), 
and a tea-spoonful of lime-juice ; a little tumeric 
oil may be used for yellow colouring. If the 
fish is raw, simmer it first. 

Infusion No. i. — ^A very large fresh cocoanut ; 
break in half. With a scraper remove the 

145 L 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

whole of the white flesh, casting it into a bowl. 
On it pour a breakfast cupful of boiling water, 
leave it for a quarter of an hour, and then strain 
the liquid off. 

Infusion No. 2. — Return the raspings to their 
bowl, and pour over them a pint and a half of 
boiling water, and stir well. Let the liquid stand 
for half an hour. Then strain well, squeezing 
every drop out in muslin. 

Beas Toast 

{called after the Punjaub River of that name). 

B utter, 2 ozs. (i chittack). 

E ggs, 6 yolks. 

A nchovy, i tea-spoonful sauce. 

S ardines, 6-bone, skin ; and mince. 
Milk, 4 ozs. (2 chittacks) ; a pinch of 
red pepper ; chili vinegar, i tea-spoonful ; 
lime-juice, i tea-spoonful ; Worcester sauce, i 
tea-spoonful. 

Serve in a sauce-boat, very hot, with dry 
toast in separate rack. 

Curry 

should be made of white meat, either of veal, 
chicken, codfish, or other white fish ; if uncooked, 
fiy first. 

Z46 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Take salt, curry powder or paste, rice, two 
lemons, breakfast cupful of milk, a few peas, 
vegetable marrow, i lb. of butter, a few onions. 

Boil the milk for half an hour. Add the 
curry powder, a tea-spoonful. Fry the onions 
in half the butter, and add to the saucepan. 
Add a little salt. Fill a wine-glass with lemon- 
juice, and pour into the saucepan. Boil a few 
peas and vegetable marrow, and add to saucepan. 

Let all this simmer on the fire for half an 
hour, and then put away till wanted. Then 
heat up and serve, but not in the same dish as 
the rice. 

How TO COOK Rice 

Put a handful of rice linto a saucepan of 
water large enough to drown it in, having first 
washed it well in clean water. When the water 
boils, throw it away, and put in more water. 
When this boils, after about ten minutes, in- 
spect the rice, which should be soft to the touch. 
Then turn it all out into the sieve, and throw 
cold water on it. 



»47 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



Jt PROPOS of marigolds, Tryphosa took 

^f me yesterday to pay a call on an 

•^-^ ancient beldame in the city, a great 

personage, nearly related to the ex- 

Ro}ral jBunily. 

We drove down the Mall, and across, beyond 
the Civil Lines, to a space, half waste, half 
ruins, desolated after the Reign of Terror, to the 
gateway of the present city. The streets are 
too narrow to allow of a carriage passing, so we 
proceeded afoot down the narrow lanes of mud- 
and-plaster, thatched, windowless houses, each 
opening into an interior courtyard. We were 
blocked some time by the three-quarter-of-a- 
mile-long procession of a Rajah's daughter's 
wedding — 

** The marriage procession^ 
And its cohort of tom-toming men. 
And the brid^room^s sublime self-possession. 
That dusky young bridegroom of ten.'* 

The bride rode on an elephant, and was fol- 
lowed by a succession of gay cardboard and 
tinsel doll's houses, some six feet high, carried 
on coolie's heads. Then came trays of artificial 
flowers, then trays of dolls, then trays of card- 
board animals. Finally, servants and retainers, 
the latter in cast-off British uniforms, resembling 

148 



My Garden in the City of GardeiM 

Guy Fawkes. Another elephant closed the 
procession, which was interpersed with dis- 
cordant native bands and many tom-toms, and 
with led horses reined up within an inch of 
their lives, and gaily caparisoned with mediaeval- 
looking trappings, and with their long manes 
and tails dyed pink. 

We stopped before an arched gateway bear- 
ing the Oudh royal crest painted on the stucco. 
In the outer, or men*s, courtyard lounged a 
number of tatterdemalion servants in scarlet 
livery. A coarse curtain of sacking, hung 
across the opposite archway, prevented the bold 
male gaze from penetrating into the further 
court allotted to the women — 

^ All their womanhood has been 
Hencooped behind a marble screen— 
They can but count their pearls and doze«" 

In the middle of this lay an oblong white 
marble tank filled with water, and containing 
gold fish, a carved marble lion sentinel at each 
corner. I thought of Lyall — 

^ While the landscape flames 

With heat, within the marble court 
I lie, and laugh to see my dames 
About the shimmering fountain sport." 

What vision of beauty was perhaps to burst 
upon me ! 

149 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Round the court rose lofty buildings, with 
Moorish arches — 

''The cool arcade for my ladies £ur.^ 

At the end arched doorways opened into a 
spacious apartment, which was an odd mixture 
of luxury and dirt. Gilded French mirrors 
hung on the walls. Venetian glass chandeliers 
depended from the gaily painted vaulted roof. 
But the floor was innocent of the broom, and 
littered with the dirty wooden bedsteads of the 
attendants. The lady herself slept in a smaller 
room within, but one of a group of woolly- 
headed negro servants informed us that she 
would receive us in ^* the garden." 

Passing through a door in the wall, we 
found ourselves in a litde enclosed parterre^ 
laid out in geometrical flower-beds. There 
were a few fruit trees and shrubs ; but the culte 
of the marigold reigned supreme. 

On the pavement, with her bare feet in the 
dry gutter which ran round, sat the divinity of 
this shrine, on a spread-out sheet, busy direct- 
ing and scolding a number of coolie women 
who were tidying up the garden. Her face 
expressed force of character, but her dignity 
was considerably marred by her costume. She 
was very stout and unwieldy, yet she wore 

ISO 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

only a white muslin short bodice and a petti- 
coat, and a sheet thrown over her shoulders. 
As she had suffered from a slight paralytic 
stroke, her head was tied up with a red turban 
and her chin with a pink rag ! 

Our hostess did not rise to receive us, but 
chairs were brought, and conversation began 
between Tryphosa and herself at the top of 
their voices, and the old begunCs was that of a 
peacock. 

While we were talking, a water-carrier passed 
in, and filled up the water-jugs which stood 
about. I noticed that he had covered his head 
with a cloth, lest his eyes should fall on the 
women. 

We were taken across the garden to look 
in at the private family mosque on the opposite 
side. It was a tiny minaretted building with 
three arched doorways, and stood on a terrace 
in another little courtyard with another marble 
tank below. Of course, we, being women, 
were not allowed to enter, but I could see that 
the interior was decorated with pictures and 
inscriptions. 

On the terrace, a maulvi was engaged teach- 
ing a youthful scion of the house his prayers. 
The boy, in his best cap and clothes, was pros- 
trating himself on his prayer-carpet, and the 

151 



My Garden in the City of Gurdene 

mauhij with upturned face, and hands over his 
ears, kept up a continuous cry of '^ Allah I " 

Before we left, we tried to persuade the old 
lady to have her photograph taken for my 
benefit. But after much haggling about the 
price, she gave it up on finding that she would 
have to be seen by the local photographer. 



IS* 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



** How beautiful h the rain 
After the dust and the heat ! '' 

A RAINY, cloudy day with cold wind. 
The Christmas rains, long over- 
due, have, we trust, come at last. 
The question is. Have they saved 
the crops and staved off the famine ? 

Twenty-four hours' rain I We haye not 
seen the sun all day. There are large puddles 
in the road, and everything looks refreshingly 
gr^en. 

** The thirsty earth soaks up the rdn, 
And drinks and gapes for drink again.** 

The rain was so violent last night that it 
made a hole in the thatch of the verandah, 
and dealt devastation, and spread consternation 
among the pots and the plants. The monkey, 
who resides in the box at the beginning of the 
garden path, tethered to the big acacia, was 
almost drowned out. But I hear the recita- 
tion of Bunda's woes with equanimity. He 
has a trick of jumping out upon me as I pass 
his box, to the detriment of my dress. 

The War Lord, as the natives call him, has 
swooped down upon us on inspection bent. 
He has spread the white wings of his camp on 

153 



My Grarden in the City of Gardens 

the short-lived ^/i(^^ grass lawns of the Prophet's 
Garden, under the gnarled mangoes. A street 
of staff tents leads up to the portable flag- 
staff which has been set up before the dining 
shemianah (tent). On one side of this is a row of 
sleeping tents ; on the other a row of office tents, 
each tent opening into an outer passage formed 
by the double fly or roof. The clerks inhabit 
a separate street of tents. The whole has been 
transformed into a thing of beauty, if not a joy 
for ever, by the labours of the malliSy who have 
gardened round the tents and the carefully 
watered drives, with pots of geraniums and 
roses from the Botanical Garden. 

«The flower-bed laid with taste. 
Where the old grove sheltered a sandy waste, 
JIow soft the geraniums gleam in 
The light of a dusky crimson sky ! '* 

A week hence and the whole will be wiped 
out as if it had never been. A ddightfiJ cold- 
weather life this of the Great Panjandrums, civil 
and military, flitting from place to place, and 
living in their great roomy marquees, gay and 
cosy within with the orange and red striped 
linings. 



IS4 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



WE have been dancing all night at 
the Parasol Palace. It was the 
seraglio of Nasiru-din Haider, 
and its central hall, surrounded 
by Moorish arcades, forms one of the most beau- 
tiful ballrooms in the world, I fancy. Crystal 
chandeliers, so beloved of the oriental potentate, 
cast a soft glow ; there is the terrace to sit out 
on overlooking the river. 

There is no lack of ** go " about a ball in 
India. We English are not, as a nation, 
devoted to dancing. South of the Tweed, it 
has never been a national pastime, a social 
recreation. The Austrians, and the Hungarians 
especially, of every class, love it for its own 
sake ; it embraces there every age among its 
ardent votaries. There is hardly a nation but 
excels us on the " light fantastic toe." It was 
not so, surely, in the old deux-temps days of 
Dundreary whiskers and crinolines. The 
dancing man of that day meant business. He 
thought he looked "killing,** as he called it, 
with his hair rather long and parted down the 
middle, as he twisted tenderly his luxuriant 
whisker with his fingers. He came early and 
he stayed late. He preferred dancing to sitting 
out, and could stand upright on his own axis 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

without lolling against a door-post. Then 
he danced I Ye gods ! how he did dance, 
waltzing at a rotatory speed we cannot now 
achieve I The joys of " kitchen " lancers were 
unknown to him, but he did not disdain square 
dances ; he knew his steps and his figures too. 
" Oh 1 good young man I Most excellent 
young man I " " Though lost to sight, to 
memory dear," enshrined for ever in the pages 
of old Punches^ flashing upon us in the 
Pickwickian chronicles of Mr. Wardell*s 
festivities. 

But his descendant is still very much to the 
fore in India. There the hostess has no trouble 
in beating up with hercvdean efforts a requisite 
number of dancing men. Indeed, they far 
exceed the opposite sex. 

Belinda had arrived, as usual, with her card 
more than half made up. Such is the fashion 
of the land, when a partner is much in demand. 
Chits (notes) had been flying about all the 
morning to her. Would-be partners, in gharrys 
or on ponies, I had seen going up to the 
bungalow. Otherwise they would have had no 
chance. Belinda enjoyed herself hugely, so she 
told me next morning. But she would not 
show me her card lest I should cavil at the 
frequency of certain names. Those not lucky 

156 



My Garden in the City of Gurdena 

enough to be there inscribed came and con- 
fided to me privately that it was a " rotten " 
dance. 

Something, indeed, was rotten in the state 
of Denmark. For the ball was opened with a 
catastrophe. 

Our " Powerful " and " Terrible " were 
there, of course, giving tone and dignity to 
the entertainment. The "big ladies" were 
received with due solemnity and pomp and 
circumstance by the hosts — it was a bachelor's 
ball — ^and marshalled across the hall to where, 
between two pillars under an arch, in the most 
prominent position, had been placed a large 
sofa, on which they proceeded to seat them- 
selves in all their majesty. 

It had been a very handsome sofa, out from 
England, wood, well upholstered — not one of 
your country-made wickerlconcerns. But, alas I 
the white ants had done their work on it, and 
wreaked their wicked wills, only too well. In 
the midst of the second waltz there was a crash 
that rose above the band. Every one stopped 
dancing and turned towards that archway. The 
sofa's hind legs had given way, beneath its 
unwonted burden, eaten through by the tiny 
depredators. It collapsed, and with it its 
occupants. The rest was chaos I 

157 



My Gwrden in the City of Gardens 

I heard afterwards that her Litde Ladyship 
had spent the whole of ^The Beautiful Blue 
Danube " in the ladies' dressing-room assisting 
to repsdr the ravages caused in the toilettes of 
our two bruised and battered bhuri mems. 



158 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



WE rode round to-day by the sad- 
dest, the most sacred, in English 
eyes, of all the many baghsy or 
gardens, round about Lakhnao— 
that in which Havelock lies. Some three miles 
away among the fields on the Khdnpi^r road, it 
was one of the many " lordly pleasure-houses " 
built by the last King of Oudh for one of his 
many favourites — just a double-storied house 
of masonry in a large square garden surrounded 
by a nine-foot wall. But the fruit trees with 
which he planted it have been felled, the walls 
are loopholed and battered, earthen rampes and 
bastions Jiave been added. For the A'lambagh 
played an important part in all the three Reliefs, 
commanding, as it did, the road to Khdnpdr. 

Hither Havelock advanced on September 
22, 1857, and, driving out the rebels next 
day, left there his baggage and stores, and 
passed on to relieve the Residency. He got 
in, but was not strong enough to get out, or 
to remove the garrison ; and Colonel Mackintyre 
had to defend himself at the A'lambagh for 
forty-five days. It was vid the A'lambagh that 
the signals instructing Sir Colin Campbell as to 
his advance were transmitted. " All the neces- 
sary particulars/' writes Martin Gubbins, " having 

IS9 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

been found under the head of * Telegraph ' in the 
* Penny Cyclopaedia ' in my library, the general 
(Outram) ordered the immediate erection of a 
semaphore on the top of the Residency, and 
copies of the necessary instructions were sent 
to the A'lambagh." 

Sir Colin reached the A*lambagh on November 
12, and thus ended the first plucky defence. 
Mackintyre never had as many as one thousand 
European troops, and only eight guns, but he 
only lost one European killed and two wounded. 

Sir Colin made the A'lambagh his base. 
Hither he returned on the 24th with that 
sad procession of the war-worn garrison, the 
sick and wounded, and the women and children 
he had rescued from the Residency. Hither, 
on the 26th, was brought Havelock's body for 
burial ; and then Sir Colin moved on with his 
army and his weary cortige to Khdnpdr to 
relieve Windham, leaving Outram to hold the 
A'lambagh. 

Here for over three long months the Bayard 
of India stood at bay with under four thousand 
men, only twenty-five guns (but they were com- 
manded by the fiery Olpherts), against as many 
as sometimes thirty thousand truculent mutineers 
left in undisputed possession of the deserted city. 
Many were the attempts made to dislodge him. 

160 



^S)^a^mm^Bamm> 



Ji 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

When strategy failed fanaticism stepped in. 
The rebel Maulvi himself on one occasion led 
the attack, but only to be repulsed. On a 
Sunday, February 21, the garrison was taken 
unawares while at church parade. Ere the 
troops could be turned out to withstand him, 
the enemy had penetrated to within five hundred 
yards of the British position. He was beaten 
back, however, baffled, but only to make a final 
desperate attempt three days later. The Royal 
Begum herself, surrounded by her vizir and her 
court, all mounted on elephants, came to en- 
courage the assault. But Outram had now 
received large reinforcements, and the enemy 
was gradually repulsed, the procession of ele- 
phants fleeing before Olpherts' guns. 

Eight days later Sir Colin and his victorious 
army reached the A'lambagh, and three weeks 
later Lakhnao was in his hands. Not, however, 
before there had been yet a third defence of 
the devoted stronghold. As the army gradually 
worked its way into the city and drove the 
rebels across the Gumti, the garrison of the 
A'lambagh had been reduced to less than 
one thousand men under Brigadier Franklyn. 
On the morning of March 16 masses of 
the enemy — cavalry, artillery, infantry — poured 
down upon the A'lambagh, trying to cut Sir 

161 M 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Colin*s line of communications. For three 
hours the fight lasted, the enemy swarming 
in over the British rifle-pits, but, chiefly by 
means of the ubiquitous Olpherts and his guns, 
they were checked and then routed. 

The A'lambagh is very quiet and peaceful 
nowadays, lying away from the life and stir of 
cantonments and from the hum of the native 
city. Beneath the tall white obelisk Havelock 
sleeps well in the " Garden of God." 



162 



i 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I HAVE been superintending the making 
of Cape gooseberry, or Tipari, jam, and 
very excellent is the result. The Cape 
gooseberry is not a gooseberry to look 
at or to taste. It is a pinky-yellow fruit, not 
unlike a white-heart cherry, and grows on low 
bushes close to the ground, down each side of 
the straight kitchen-garden path. 

In the garden I have been very busy sow- 
ing fresh seeds in the hot bed. There has 
been a great deal to do pricking out annuals 
into the little beds that edge the verandah wall ; 
and I have had all the roses and fruit trees 
opened out and mulched. 

Be it well understood that when I speak of 
doing a thing in the garden myself, it merely 
means I sit, or stand, and see it done. In this 
land no one does any gardening personally, but 
the supervision of the ignorant, untrustworthy, 
uninterested malli is for more trouble. 

There was a big inspection by the War Lord 
yesterday morning, but the cold wind drove me 
home from the parade-ground at 9 a.m. In 
the evening the " distinguished visitors " were 
entertained at an evening garden-party in the 
ruins of the Palace of Heart's Delight. Does 
not this sound charming and romantic, out in 

163 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the shiny East ? As a matter of fact, it was 
abominably chilly between 9 and 10 p.m. 
There was the inevitable British infantry band 
playing in the inevitable chabbutra among the 
stiff flower-beds. A huge bonfire had been 
lighted on an empty space, round which all that 
is ^^ society *' in the station was grouped in the 
inevitable cane armchairs, their feet upon the 
inevitable striped Agra carpet. 

Born of much social anxiety and suffering, 
the conviction grows upon me that a great deal 
of the conventionality, the stiflfhess, the wrang- 
ling, the feuds and internecine warfare, the wor- 
ship of official rank and precedence, and of the 
Medes and Persians law which rule society out 
here, — all these ills that afflict us, are, in some 
measure, due to the way we allow the bearers 
to arrange the chairs in solemn rows, or in an 
exact semicircle. How I long at these func- 
tions to shuffle up both chsurs and their occu- 
pants, the memsahibsj big and little, covenanted 
and uncovenanted, the heaven and the earthly 
born 1 

A great full moon and a bonfire lit up a 
weirdly beautiful scene. 

*< The garden palace stands, 
A desert ruin, choked with sands, 
A broken well 'mid trees that fade.*' 

164 



d 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Heart's Delight is the most picturesquely 
situated of all the " lordly pleasure-houses " 
that successive Oudh sovereigns reared round 
their capital. S'aadhat' Ali Khan built it for what 
we should call a hunting-box. Round it he laid 
out a kind of park, sloping gently down to the 
banks of the Gumti, and stocked it with deer 
and other game, which he hunted after the 
native way with hawks and trained leopards. 
When the rebellion came, Heart's Delight was 
strongly held by the mutineers. But Sir Colin's 
force advanced against it on November 14, 
1857, and it was captured after a running fight 
of two hours by the Highlanders and the 
Fighting Fifth, and the relieving force swept 
on irresistibly down towards the river and the 
city. 

A fortnight later, however, and the tide of 
war had ebbed back again to Heart's Delight. 
Hither returned the relieving force, victorious, 
convoying the women and children it had 
rescued fi-om the besieged Residency. But the 
price of victory had been dear. For it brought 
with it also the hero of the First Relief, Sir 
Henry Havelock — dying. Again over the 
ruined central tower of Heart's Delight, which 
I saw silhouetted that evening against the 
moon, " the banner of England blew." But it 

i6s 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

fluttered at half-mast. For, on November 24 
" the Covenanter " entered into " the rest that 
remaineth." He sleeps a few miles further 
down the Khdnpur road in the garden of 
another palace^ God*s Garden — God*s Acre. 

The ruins of Heart's Delight have been 
tenderly gardened. Gay creepers clothe the 
tower and the loopholed walls, but — 

*' O^er the sloping mound where the roses bloom 
Can it be an old forgotten tomb ? ** 

For all the British graves which lie below are 
nameless, save those of Lieutenant W. Paul, 
4th Punjaub Rifles, and Lieutenant Charles 
Keith Dashwood, of the i8th B.N.L 



166 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



yA ROUND Heart's Delight hangs a well- 
f^L authenticated ghost story, interest- 
/ ^ ing at the present day as a solitary 
-^ -^^ instance in which a supernatural 
apparition succeeded in " scoring ofF" the War 
Office, It is related in " Footfalls/* by Robert 
Dale Owen, who declares "that although, in 
accordance with the wishes of the family, some 
of the names are merely represented by initials, 
they are all known to him. As, however, the 
name of the officer subsequently appeared in 
print, we shall not be committing any breach of 
courtesy or good feeling in stating that Captain 
German Wheatcroft is the name in full." The 
following is the tale as told by Owen : — 

"In the month of September, 1857, Captain 
German Wheatcroft, of the 6th (InniskiUing) 
Dragoons, went out to India to join his 
regiment* 

"His wife remained in England, residing 
at Cambridge. On the night between the 14th 
and 15th of November, 1857, towards morn- 
ing, she dreamed that she saw her husband, 
looking anxious and ill ; upon which she 
immediately awoke, much agitated. It was 
bright moonlight, and, looking up, she per- 
ceived the same figure standing by the bedside. 

167 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

He appeared in his uniform, his hand pressed 
across his breast, the hair dishevelled, the face 
very pale. His large dark eyes were fixed full 
upon her ; their expression was that of great 
excitement, and there was a peculiar contrac- 
tion of the mouth, habitual to him when 
agitated. She saw him even to each minute 
particular of his dress, as distincdy as she had 
ever done in her life, and she remembers to 
have noticed between his hands the white of 
his shirt bosom, unstained, however, with 
blood. The figure seemed to bend forward 
as if in pain, and to make an eflTort to speak ; 
but there was no sound. It remained visible, 
the wife thinks, as long as a minute, and then 
disappeared. 

" Her first idea was to ascertain if she was 
actually awake. She rubbed her eyes with the 
sheet, and felt that the touch was real. Her 
little nephew was in bed with her ; she bent 
over the sleeping child and listened to its 
breathing. The sound was distinct, and she 
became convinced that what she had seen was 
no dream. It need hardly be added that she 
did not again go to sleep that night. 

"Next morning she related all this to her 
mother, expressing the conviction that though 
she had noticed no marks of blood on his dress, 

i68 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Captain Wheatcroft was either kiHed or griev- 
ously wounded. So ftilly impressed was she 
with the reality of the apparition, that she 
henceforth refused all invitations. A young 
friend soon afterwards urged her to go with 
her to a fashionable concert, reminding her that 
she had received from Malta, sent by her hus- 
band, a handsome dress-cloak which she had 
never yet worn. But she positively declined, 
declaring that, uncertain as she was whether 
she was not already a widow, she would never 
enter a place of amusement until she had 
letters from her husband (if, indeed, he still 
lived), of a later date than November 14th. 

"It was on a Tuesday, in the month of 
December, that a telegram regarding the actual 
fete of Captain Wheatcroft was published in 
London. It was to the effect that he had 
been killed before Lucknow on t\\t fifteenth of 
November. 

"This news, given in the morning paper, 
attracted the attention of Mr. Wilkinson, a 
London solicitor, who had charge of Captain 
Wheatcroft's afiairs. When, at a later period, 
this gentleman met the widow, she informed 
him that she had been quite prepared for the 
melancholy news, but that she felt sure that 
her husband had not been killed on the 15th of 

169 



' 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

November, inasmuch as it was during the 
night between the 14th and the 15 th that he 
appeared to her.^ 

" The certificate from the War Office, how- 
ever, which it was Mr. Wilkinson's duty to 
obtain, confirmed the date given in the tele- 
gram, its tenor being as follows : — 

" No. liZ^ " • War Office, 30th January, 1S58. 

I 

" ^ This is to certify that it appears by the 
records in this office, that Captain German 
Wheatcroft, of the 6th Dragoon Guards, was 
killed in action on the 15th of November, 
1857. 

"* (Signed) B. Hawes/* 

^^ Mr. Wilkinson called at the office of Messrs. 
Cox and Greenwood, the army agents, to ascer- 
tain if there were no mistake in the certificate. 

^ *<The difference of longitude between London and Luck 
now being about five hours, 3 or 4 o*clock a.m. in London 
would be 8 or 9 o^clock a.m. at Lucknow. But it was in the 
afternoon, not in the morning, as will be seen in the sequel, that 
Captain Wheatcroft was killed. Had he fallen on the 15th, 
therefore, the apparition to his wife would have appeared several 
hours before the engagement in which he fell, and while he was 
yet alive and well. — R. D. OwBN." 

' " Into this certificate, of which I possess the original, an error 
has crept. Captain German Wheatcroft was of the 6th (Inniskill- 
ing) Dragoons, not of the 6th Dragoon Guards. — ^R. D. Owen/" 

170 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

But nothing there appeared to confirm any 
surmise of inaccuracy. Captain Wheatcroft*s 
death was mentioned in two separate despatches 
of Sir Colin Campbell, and in both the date 
corresponded with that given in the telegram. 

" So matters rested, until, in the month of 
March, 1858, the family of Captain Wheatcroft 

received from Captain G C , then of 

the Military Train, a letter dated from near 
Lucknow on the 15th December, 1857. This 
letter informed them that Captain Wheatcroft 
had been killed before Lucknow, while gallantly 
leading on the squadron, not on the 15th 
November, as reported in Sir Colin Campbell's 
despatches, but on the fourteenth^ in the afternoon. 

Captain C was riding close by his side at 

the time he saw him fall. He was struck by a 
fragment of shell on the breast, and never spoke 
after he was hit. He was buried at the Dil- 
koosha ; and on a wooden cross, erected by 

his friend. Lieutenant R y of the 9th Lancers, 

at the head of his grave, were cut the initials 
* G. W.,' and the date of his death the * 14th of 
November, 1857.' 

" The War Office finally made the correction 
as to the date of death, but not until more than 
a year after the event occurred. Mr. Wilkinson, 
having occasion to apply for an additional copy 

171 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

of the certificate in April, 1857,* found it in 
exactly the same words as I have given, only 
that the 1 4th of November had been substituted 
for the 1 5th.* 

*'This extraordinary narrative was obtained 
by me direct from the parties themselves. The 
widow of Captain Wheatcroft kindly consented 
to examine and correct the manuscript, and 

allowed me to inspect a copy of Captain G 's 

letter, giving the particulars of her husband's 
death. To Mr. Wilkinson, also, the manuscript 
was submitted, and he assented to its accuracy 
as fer as he is concerned. I have neglected no 
precaution, therefore, to obtain for it the warrant 
of authenticity. 

" It is perhaps the only example on record 
where the appearance of what is usually termed 
a ghost proved the means of correcting an 
erroneous date in the despatches of a Com- 
mander-in-Chief; and of detecting an inaccuracy 
in the certificate of a War Oflice." 

Malleson, in his " History of the Mutiny," * 
gives a note which I cannot help thinking 

1 Surely 1859. — Author, 

' << The originals of both these certificates are in my posses- 
*sion \ the first bearing the date 30th January, 185S, and certify, 
ing as already shown to the 1 5th ; the second, dated April 5thy 
1859, and testifying to the 14th. — ^R. D, Owen." 

^ Vol. ii. book ii. chap. ii. 

172 




My Gar Am in the City of Gardens 

must allude, though there is a discrepancy in 
the name, to the hero of this story, as it 
seems so in keeping with his psychic appear- 
ance to his wife. Malleson has been telling 
how Sir Colin, whose point d^appui was the 
Dilku-sha, or Heart's Delight, on the evening 
of November 1 4, having made arrangements for 
holding the ground up to the edge of the canal, 
which he had won, had ordered a night bivouac. 
Little's brigade of cavalry, however, had scarcely 
dismounted, before the enemy came down in 
great numbers, and with several guns, over the 
bridge. But Adrian Hope, with his infantry 
brigade, and the artillery, was ready for them. 
" The cavalry were handy. As each successive 
regiment came up, it lined the banks of the 
canal." Peel's and Bouchier's guns on high 
ground to the left of the bridge directed a con- 
centric fire where the enemy were massed, and 
speedily " crushed " them out of this position. 
Adrian Hope formed up his infantry, drove 
them with heavy loss across the bridge, and 
secured a lodgment on the other side. The 
attack had failed. 

Now for Malleson's note. 

** In this action our force lost two very 
promising officers — Captain Mayne, of the 
Bengal Artillery, and Captain Wheatley, of the 

173 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Carabineers, doing duty with the 9th Lancers. 
A few hours before, Wheatley, talking with 
some comrades of the approaching Christmas, 
had remarked, *I wonder how many of us 
will then be alive ? ' He was a very gallant 
officer." 

^ In the Annual Army List for 1857-8, pub- 
lished April I, 1857, Captain German Wheat- 
Croft appears in the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. 
There is no Wheatley in the cavalry. The 
Annual Army List for 1858-9, published 
April I, 1858, gives Captain G. Wheatcroft as 
having died since the last publication, date not 
stated, and puts his regiment as the 6th Dragoon 
Guards (Carabineers). 

The monthly Army List of November, 1857, 
gives German Wheatcroft as a captain in the 
6th Dragoon Guards, and shows no Wheatcroft 
nor Wheatley in the 6th Inniskillings. He 
continues in the list in January, 1858, being 
first omitted in February, 1858. 

Hart's Army List for 1858 shows Wheat- 
croft in 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabineers), and 
in a note of his war services, says he served in 
the 6th Dragoons in the Crimea. Hart of 
1859 omits Wheatcroft, but he does not appear 
under the list of casualties. 

It appears, therefore, that he was transferred 

174 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

from the Inniskilling to the Carabineers about 
July, 1857. 

Throughout there is no other Wheatcroft, 
and therefore it seems evident that the hero of 
the ghost story and of Malleson's anecdote 
were one and the same man. Psychical Society, 
please note. 



175 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



AFIRE within and the caladiems 
without, their yellow and red 
stripes on their great leaves, and 
the coleus, gaudy in the veran- 
dah ; and, to quote the " Compleat Gardner " 
of 1649 for September i, "for Flowers we 
have now great store of Tube roses, asters, or 
occulus christVsy and French marygolds." 

Last evening late, I heard the chitel give 
the peculiar little bark which he rarely utters in 
captivity, but which the Wild Man *of the 
Woods tells me is such a common sound in 
happy hunting-grounds in the foot-hills. The 
bearer went out to see what ailed him, and 
reported that the dear little beast seemed very 
terrified, and kept glancing round in the dark- 
ness and making queer noises. Probably a 
wolf was prowling round. Wolf Monath was 
the Saxon name for January, because " people 
are wont always in that month to be in more 
danger of being devoured by wolves than in 
any other," says Verstegan. 

Recently two children were carried off from 
the grasS'Cufs huts behind the barracks, about 
half a mile from here, on the edge of the maidan^ 
or waste, so I suppose the beasts are on the 
prowl now the nights are dark and long. 

176 



■y 



FEBRUARY 

" Awake^ O north wind, and come, thou south ; blow upon 
my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." 



FEBRUARY 



MORE deluges ! Fill-dyke has kept 
up its name even in the East. 
The roads are flooded and the 
deep side ditches full, and car- 
riages drove into them returning from a dinner- 
party at the mess last night. I sat in comfort 
in my sealskin, with a coat over it, watching 
the polo this afternoon. 

The famine has come — partially. Anyhow, 
dearth and starvation stalk the land. But the 
belated crops are ripening, so Government will 
not do anything to help ; but the pinch, though 
short, is sharp. A subscription has been 
opened, and so grain is distributed by private 
charity. Each morning a crowd of gaunt, 
half-naked wretches, with protruding bones and 
joints, swarm out of the villages into canton- 
ments, and some ebb into our garden. We 
cannot possibly feed all, so I drive away the 
adults, and do what I can for the children. It 
is heart-breaking to see these miserable atoms. 
Those that have suflficient vitality seem to have 
become purely wolfish. We feed about twenty 

179 N 2 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

little skeletons daily with the gram the horses 
eat. How they grab and scuffle for it I 

A letter from Guramabad tells me things 
are much worse there. The natives creep into 
the gardens to die in the night, and Yseulte 
tells me that she has to have hers searched 
every morning for corpses 1 

I met a wolf quite close last night. The 
Captsun Sahib and I were walking home — ^for a 
wonder, one walks so little — after tennis at 
a bungalow down the road. Something like a 
huge pariah dog sprang up out of the deep 
drain, cut to carry off the water from the road 
in the rains. It crossed the road just behind 
me. Involuntarily I edged nearer my husband, 
for it looked as if it were coming for me. 
Seen nearer, it did not look quite like a 
dog, and it was too large and bold for a jackal. 
The Captain Sahib is convinced it was a 
wolf, arisen from its noontide lair in the dhal 
crop, and slinking off towards the deep 
ravine which leads to the slaughter-house, and 
which is haunted by these beasts. According 
to Scandinavian lore, then, I have been 
lucky. The wolf was dedicated to Odin, the 
giver of victory, and to see one was a good 
sign. 

But the stories one hears of their stealing 

1 80 



My Garden in the City of Grardens 

into the houses and carrying off children, make 
one feel creepy. One is so unprotected in a 
house — only a curtain or a grass chick in the 
ever-open doors between one's bed and the 
outside world. 



i8i 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



MY garden scents the ndghbourhood 
with a forest of sweet peas and 
mignonette, grown from my 
English seeds. The porttdaca^ 
many-hued, red, yellow, and white, and closing 
at night, are very gay in sunny spots in the 
verandah in pots. Yet we still have fires these 
covered days, when the keen winds blow ; and 
in the late afternoon, when I sit at garden- 
parties watching the eternal badminton, I am 
glad of a fur doak. 

Last week I went to a flower-show at 
*^ Caesar's Garden," part of the old royal 
palace. This is a great pile of buildings sur- 
rounding an immense quadrangle — "a very 
fine palace," as Captain Wolsdey saw it in 
the Third Relief, "with beautiful gardens. 
There in front of the main buildings was a 
canal with marble sides and a very hand- 
some carved marble bridge over it The 
imposing and beautiful throne which is now 
in the king's garden at Windsor Castle stood 
near it." 

The buildings round the square are all in 
stucco, and in execrable taste — ^a jumble of 
architecture, Italian, Moorish, Venetian — gilt 
domes, battlements, arcades, female figures and 

182 






1- 






1 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

fishes : such a contrast to the chaste pink stone- 
work of Agra, Delhi, and Mathiira. 

Facing each other over every arch are the 
curved fishes, the Oudh royal crest, for Caesar's 
Garden was built in 1848 by the late king. 
It took two years to complete, and cost eighty 
lacs of rupees. 

The flower-show was held in the centre of 
the square in the "Silvery Summer-house," a 
picturesque white stone erection of open arches 
and heavily eaved roof, formerly paved with 
silver, now used as a public town hall, for 
meetings, etc. We promptly sought out our 
own special exhibit, a ddli composed of the 
greatest variety of vegetables. Of other people's 
contributions I especially admired the roses, 
the heartsease, and the petunias. Then we 
turned away to *^ Caesar's Pleasure," a small 
building in the south-west angle of the quad- 
rangle, once the abode of the ex-king's favourite 
maha/y Mashuk-ul-Sultan. The place has sad 
memories for English people ; for here were 
shut up the unfortunate party captured at 
Dhorera. A monument erected outside the 
north gate of Caesar's Garden marks the place 
where they met their death on September 24, 
1857. But vengeance has repaid, and the 
favourite sultana's palace is now given over 

183 



My Grorden in the City of Gardens 

to white-trousered baboos in patent leather 
shoes, as the office of the city magistrate and 
the police, and the public treasury. 

I so constantly feel this sharp contrast 
between the present and the not-so-far-away 
past — ^the gay gardens round deserted palaces ; 
the shot-riddled pleasure-houses, with loop- 
holed walls ; the laughing, chattering English- 
men and women riding and driving about them 
just as before ; the iron heel of the conqueror 
planted on the neck of the salaaming native ; 
but, in between, that awful interlude of 
massacre ! 

I was taking our own particular "Paget, 
M.P.," temporarily encamped in our spare 
room, last week to see the sights round by 
the " Heart's Delight " along the Martiniire 
road, the line of Sir Colin Campbell's advance. 
As we drove along, I pointed out to him one 
of the mementoes of the Mutiny which lie 
scattered about the environs of the city — b, 
British grave with a neat headstone, and secured, 
by a stone wall. I mentioned the name of him 
who lay there. 

" He was my cousin," exclaimed my guest. 
'* Let me stop and see his grave." 



184 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I HAVE been painfully reminded, in this 
glorious weather, of the heat that is to 
come ; for I have caused the brinjals 
to be sown, likewise the melons, the 
latter in two-foot-deep holes round the well, in 
good black earth mixed with stable litter. Also 
the first of the lal-saj seed has been put in — a 
most useful vegetable. We eat the leaves like 
spinach, but especially in chichkiy or vegetable 
curry. 

My narrow border beneath the verandah 
wall is now quite filled with pricked-out 
annuals, and in due time the house will appear 
to rise from a band of glowing colour. 

We had our last paperchase yesterday. The 
pig-sticking season begins at once, and that 
will absorb all our energies and horseflesh, 
as the meets are a long way oflF. We had a 
nice course, out across the river, over green 
grass enclosures, and through little mango 
and guava topes (groves). But it is quite 
time we left oiF, for we had to avoid riding 
over crops, and especially the precious poppy 
fields. This, of course, is not the "Corn 
Rose," or the "Red Mantle of Ceres," or 
"Joan Silver Pin," of our English harvest 
fields, " scattered o'er the fields of corn," says 

i8S 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Corsley, ^^ that all the wants of men may be 
easily satisfied, and that bread and sleep may 
go together." No ; this is the white poppy, 
grown to fill the hubble-bubbles and the opium 
dens. Old Gerard, in his " Generall Historic 
of Plantes," 1633, tells us that "a caudle 
made of the seeds of the wild poppie made into 
almond milk and so given, causeth sleep." 

The odious (to horsemen and women) culti- 
vation of the melon has been begun, moreover, 
by the patient ryoL By river banks, in low- 
lying alluvial spots, he is laying his traps in 
the shape of carefully disguised pits in the 
innocent-looking soft black soil, into which the 
horse flounders up to his knee, while his rider 
executes a more or less graceful toss. But, 
all the same, we shall be thankful enough for 
iced melons at every meal when the hot weather 
begins. 

Really, only the very heartless can gallop 
ruthlessly over Indian fields. They are the 
result of such patient microscopic husbandry — 
a rough basket, one iron tool, the implements — 
little fields sunk, and divided by raised banks, 
and, round and about each, runnels, so care- 
fully filled morn and eve from the well in 
the corner — runnels sometimes dose enough 
together to form the celebrated "gridiron 

186 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



lep," very trappy for a horse not a clever 
fencer. 

To my mind -there is something pathetic 
about these oases of cultivation about the 
villages, set in the great wastes of plain, dotted 
here and there with Government-planted mango 
groves. For the Hindoo ryot hovers on the 
verge of famine. A monsoon that failed, 
Christmas rains too light, and he slips over the 
brink. 

'< The ploughman settled his share 
More deep in the sun-dried clod. 
The wheat and the cattle are all my share, 
The rest is the will of God." 



187 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



IT has suddenly become much hotter. A 
fortnight ago it was 50^ at noon in the 
rooms without a fire. Now I am wear- 
ing washing dresses, and am shut up 
in the house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is 
dull and dark as a prison. Outside, in the 
middle of the day, blow premature dusty 
winds. 

I have added to my menagerie of pets. The 
Captain Sahib brought me a litter of baby 
wolves, paying the native the usual Govern- 
ment reward for them. They are like very ugly, 
ill-bred little kittens, with black bullet heads 
and short, iron-grey furry coats. Already they 
draw up their lips, and show the gums where 
their fangs will be, in a very hereditary manner. 
I have introduced them to a Maw's feeding- 
bottle, but they will be very difficult to rear. 

Of the wild live things that come to pay me 
a visit when I sit quietly in the verandah, I 
think the hoopoo the most entrancing. So 
pert, so perky are they, so pompously dainty 
in their tiny way, with their luxuriant nodding 
crest, and their gentle manner of introducing 
themselves by name, and they do not encroach, 
or take liberties, like the squirrels. 



188 



.». tk 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



Y/'ALENTINES Z>^r.— Beautiful Be- 
tX linda came tripping across In the dust 
^ from the parental bungalow behind the 

millingtonias yesterday, out of calling 
hours — beautiful Belinda, who can wear a hideous 
mushroom solar tope with impunity. She flung 
herself gracefully into a long cane couch in the 
verandah, clasped her hands behind her pretty 
head, and began confidences. Belinda wanted 
me to make up her mind for her. I declined, 
but instead gave her a piece of mine ; for 
I consider Belinda's general and particular 
behaviour most reprehensible, even in the land 
where the " compleat dangler," of both sexes, 
has raised the gentle art of flirtation to a 
science. 

That art which " dallied with the innocence 
of love " is, of course, no new thing. We find 
archaic traces of it in the earliest Scripture history, 
and the practise was extensively in vogue in the 
courts of the Jewish sovereigns. But it was 
not till the middle of the seventeenth century 
that the tactics of the loafer on " the primrose 
path of dalliance " were epitomized into a word 
which has since become general in more lan~ 
guages than one. Lord Chesterfield, writing 
in the World (the ancient fVorld of course) 

189 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

about 1754, says that he ^^ assisted at the birth 
of that most significant word * flirtation ' which 
dropped from the most beautifril mouth in the 
world." The owner of the mouth in question 
was the fair Lady Frances Shirley, and Lord 
Chesterfield, as every one knows, no mean 
judge, is supposed to have spoken from personal 
aquaintance with it The lady, however, merely 
coined a happy abstract noun from a conmion 
one. "Fan flirts" were common enough in 
her day, powdered belles, to whom the fan, 
with its language of jerks and flirts and flutters, 
was as the snufF-box and the " clouded cane " 
to the beaux of the period. 

In the days of queues and powder it would 
seem to have been the woman who was the 
flirt. But nowadays, like education in general, 
and other home arts and industries, the " gentle 
art " has spread down the social scale, and the 
^^ compleat dangler " knows no sex, or dass, or 
clime. There was, indeed, an intermediate 
period, when, among the respectable middle 
classes, with whom the arts in those days made 
slow progress, he was almost always of the male 
persuasion. One cannot imagine one of Miss 
Austen's heroines flirting. 

In India, we — ^to wit, Belinda — have vastly 
improved upon our fiithers — and mothers. All 

190 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

roads, however, do not lead to Rome, whatever 
young Sabretasche avers to Belinda on the 
subject. All dangling does not end in marriage 
with the person dangled for, or with. I repri- 
hianded Belinda, but it is borne in upon me 
that it is better to have dangled and jilted than 
never to have dangled at all. For then one 
has left unopened a page of life, has lost what is 
doubtless the sauce-piquante of society. But 
playing with fire, I tell her, is apt to burn the 
fingers. The dangler is sooner or later hooked 
and landed with her own bait, in spite of her 
fixed intention to dangle wisely, but not too 
well. 

Belinda listens, and smiles — the smile — and 
calmly announces that from her point of view 
the " compleat dangler " will be the one thing 
wanting in that state of perfection in which 
there is no marrying or giving in marriage. 

I give in. Without going so far as to say 
that a happy marriage depends upon broken 
hearts, I am quite aware that one cannot make 
an omelette without breaking eggs. It is dis- 
tinctly advisable that young people should not 
be obliged to marry in order to find out if they 
like each other. It is better for them to know 
each other before the die is cast, to make their 
game, as saith the croupier, before rien ne va 

191 



My Garden in the City of Grardena 

plus. Viewed in this light the enormous amount 
of flirtation, pure and simple, which pervades 
the social atmosphere, is merely a means to an 
end, like the " walking out " of the lower classes 
in England, which by no means implies betrothal. 
So I, myself, as regards Belinda, take heart o' 
grace, however deficient I may yet believe her 
to be in that graceless article. 

And I let her prattle on of her partners at 
dance and game, while the ring-doves cooed 
approvingly among the greenery of the jaffri 
work, and the parrots forebore to shriek. 



19a 



MARCH 

^'For the sun shall scorch, and the fierce winds blow, 
And the pest strike sudden/" 



MARCH 



STEALTHILY it is stealing upon us — 
the heat. It is 82^ in the draw- 
) ing-room as I write at 3 p.m. (the 
empty hour between tiffin and the 
garden-party, or polo time, when all good 
qui-hais should be asleep), and that though the 
house has been shut up since ten. The wind 
is high, driving down the road clouds of dust, 
with which the red-aproned bhistiy watering 
feebly with the trickle of his goat-skin, cannot 
grapple, and which are dreadfully bad for my 
garden. v 

It is too hot to drive or play tennis before 
five o'clock, and when I came in from riding 
this morning at 7.30, the sun felt quite 
powerful. 

But the nights are delicious. The house is 
open all night long. Only a chick (a screen of 
green rushes) intervenes between me and the 
verandah. The outside world makes itself felt. 
The murmuring of a myriad insects, the bell- 
like croaking of the frogs, both continuous 
recitatives in different keys, are suddenly broken 

195 o 2 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

into by a solo from a jackal prowling round, to 
which is promptly added a chorus from all his 
fellowsy far and near — z hellish din which 
banishes sleep. 

The garden is almost sickening witk the 
heavy scent of the orange bloom — 

** Freth gakt and gentle ain— liom their wings 
Fhing rote^ fiong odoun fiom the tpiqr shrub.** 

With the increasing heat my English sweet 
peas and mignonette have vanished. But I 
still have some very fine beds of white petunia 
in bloom. 

For the last week we have had strawberries 
for breakfast. Only a few at a time, for the 
plants were only put in last year. They are a 
trifle insipid, and, according to John Parkinson, 
ought to make one feel very calm and con- 
tented, for in his "Terrestrial Paradise," he 
says that they are eaten — 

"As a rare service, whereunto claret wine, 
cream or milke, is added with sugar as any 
one liketh. They are good for perturbation of 
the spirit." 

If so, I really need them just now I For 
my native Redfern has been more than usually 
trying. This domestic each morning spreads 
a dirty sheet in my bedroom verandah. Here 

196 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

he squats cross-legged, carefully concealed from 
the eye of the caller, for I would not for worlds 
have Mrs, Major de Ferret spy my latest con- 
fection till it bursts upon her at some "big 
dinner/* Armed with a huge horn thimble, 
and holding the work in his often grimy toe, 
he stitches away elaborately, copying models 
marvellously — too marvellously, indeed, for on 
inspection this morning I found that he had 
even copied in a patch into my new ball 
frock I 

But a more serious matter has also irritated 
me. The fiat this morning went forth from 
the Gran Commandatore that the Captain Sahib 
is not to get his leave yet. We must resign 
ourselves to doing some of the hot weather. 



197 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



A FEW nights ago we were invited 
to a kind of native memorial-ser- 
vice, garden - party combined ! 
The Mohurrum has begun. The 
advent of the new moon has been announced 
by beat of drum among the Mohammedan 
retainers in European cantonments, ushering 
in the Islamite " month of mourning," as the 
Celts called November. This solemn fast com- 
memorates the murder, in Turkish Arabia, of 
Hasain and Hosein, the Prophet's grandsons. 
The story of the murder shows why Moham- 
medans hate lizards and love spiders. The 
two brothers were being pursued across the 
desert, and took shelter in a well, across the 
top of which a spider immediately wove a web. 
The enemies came up, and seeing the web, 
imagined that the fugitives could not possibly 
be down the well. But, on looking in, they 
saw a number of lizards hurrying up the sides ; 
so they concluded some one must be down 
there to frighten the reptiles, and after further 
search, the brothers were got up and killed. 

The Oudh Mohammedans are chiefly of the 
Shiahs, and the Mohurrum is very stricdy 
observed by that sect. The term means 
^^most sacred,*' and is a fast and solemn 

198 



saame 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

mourning, beginning on the evening of the 
new moon of the first month. It lasts ten 
days, during which taziyahSy or biers, are ex- 
hibited. These are made up of bamboo or 
woodwork, and adorned with gaudy tinsels, 
and are supposed to represent the tomb of 
Hosein at Karbala-a in Turkish Arabia. On 
the tenth day, the taziyahs are gaily lighted up 
and carried in procession to be buried at one 
of the Karbalas, so called, around the city. 
During these processions the most furious 
encounters take place between different parties ; 
neither will give way, and the extra police have 
their work cut out for them. The grounds 
about the Karbala are given over for purposes 
of burial of the taziyahs^ and the nearer the 
cenotaph, the more sacred the spot ; hence hot 
and dusty fights of the Faithful to get their 
taziyahs as close as possible. Add to this, the 
violent demonstrations of frantic grief, the 
attempts at violence, and, perhaps, vengeance, 
the din of divers drums, the blare of trumpets, 
the tinkling of cymbals and the babel of 
tongues, and you can imagine what it is like 
to drive in the environs of the city at Mohur- 
rum time. The neighbourhood of the Talku- 
tora Karbala, across the canal near the Khdnpur 
road, is especially to be avoided. It was built 

199 



' I 

My Garden in the City of Gardens 

in 1800, and stands in an enclosure surrounded 
with cloisters, the imitation tomb in the middle, 
and on the south side a •watch-tower some 
thirty feet high, richly wrought in arabesque 
and coloured in red, probably to imitate the 
famous red granite Kootub Minar at Delhi. 
Round the summit is a balcony, whence five 
times in the twenty-four hours comes the voice 
of the Muezzim calling upon the Faithful to 
turn their faces towards Mecca and to fall in 
prayer. 

The Talkutora Karbala is the most fashionable 
burial-place of the taziyahs^ but the Karbala 
of Nasiru-din Haider is also much affected. 
Its two tall, unfinished towers rise like great 
factory chimneys across the river opposite the 
Fish Market Fort It is a real mausoleum, for 
in the central room of an imposing massive 
structure, surrounded by the tombs of his 
courtiers and household, lies the second and 
the most despicable of all the Oudh monarchs, 
who brought the kingdom to such a pass that, 
in 1 83 1, Lord William Bentinck told him that, 
unless he altered his ways and governed better, 
the Company wovJd have to step in and govern 
for him. Nasiru-din drank himself to death, 
and in the confusion of the contest that endued 
for the throne, found no grave save his own 

200 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

unfinished Karbala, followed by the hatred and 
the groans of the disaffected populace. The place 
is rapidly fallirig into ruin, and given over to 
the flying foxes by day and the haunt of jackals 
by night. Occasionally one finds a few withered 
flowers or a smouldering taper on the tomb, 
where, as in the stilted language of the early 
century — 

^ No bribes can bid the incense bum 
Round titled frailty's wintry's urn ; 
Oblivion's secret cancer steals 
To blot the useless name which vice reveals/* 

The upper ten of Lakhnao keep their 
Mohurrum at the Hosein-a-bad, with chanting 
of memorial verses in praise of the departed 
brothers, away beyond the Fish Market Fort. 
It was thither we were invited. As we drove 
down after dinner we found great excitement 
everywhere. Vast crowds had congregated at 
the Shah Najif mausoleum, which, like all 
the other imimbdras and tombs in the city, 
was brilliantly illuminated with thousands of 
coloured lamplets. The people were flocking 
in to the burial-place of the first King of Oudh, 
who lies under an enormous dome. An en- 
lightened and successful ruler, the patron of 
literature and art, both Eastern and Western, 
he lent the East Indian Company one crore 

aoi 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

of rupees (;£i,cxx),ocx)), the interest to be spent 
on this festival) which is also the anniversary of 
his death. But to me, as we* drove by, the 
Shah Nujif, glittering in light, was interesting 
in a far different way. Hither, on November 
1 6, the rebels stood at bay, immovable, barring 
the way to the relieving force. *^The Shah 
Najif must be taken," says Sir Colin Campbell 
to the 93 rd. And so on to it rushed the 
gallant Highlanders, and with them Captain 
Peel and the crew and the big guns of the 
Shannon, They made short work of the strong 
massive fortifications which the rebels had im- 
provised round the mosque, and opened the 
way to the Residency and to the meeting of Sir 
Colin Campbell with Outram and Havelock. 

We drove on along the river bank. Night 
was being turned into day. Our way was 
continually blocked by smaller processions of 
the poorer classes of Mohammedans staggering 
along under their tawdry taziyahs. But at the 
Hosein-a-bad everything is done regardless of 
expense, as King Mahomet, Ali Shah, about the 
middle of the last century, bequeathed large sums 
to keep up the buildings and the ceremonies. 
Leaving the carriage, we passed under some 
Moorish gateways into a large quadrangle in 
the same light and fantastic style affected by 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

\ 

the Oxidh nawabs of the nineteenth century. 
Thence through a lofty gateway of three pointed 
arches, richly wrought in stucco, into a smaller 
square, with the imdmbiray or mausoleum, at 
one side. It is divided lengthways into three 
rooms. With smaller compartments in the ends, 
and the partition walls are arcaded and profusely 
ornamented in arabesque. The central room 
contains the tomb of Mahomet Ali Shah and 
his mother, and in the innermost compartment 
on a raised floor a taziyah of silver and tabity 
or cradle, covered with net, in which are exhi- 
bited the royal insignia of the departed monarch. 
At the other end is the Mohurrum memorial 
taziyah of wood, which is partly buried and 
renewed every year. The vaulted roof, covered 
in the centre with a gilded dome, was hung with 
chandeliers and coloured globes of European 
make. Pier glasses adorned the walls, and the 
floor was a beautiful mosaic of black and white 
marble. 

We passed out on to a raised and open 
verandah on which, in honour of the occasion, 
was erected a tapestry awning supported by 
poles encased in silver. Emerging from the 
dimly lighted mysteriousness of the arched and 
vaulted mausoleum, we looked down upon a 
scene of fairyland. Twelve thousand rupees a 

203 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

night are spent on the festivaL Brilliantly lit up 
with thousands of tiny lamps in coloured glass 
lay, below us, the large quadrangle. In the 
centre glittered an ornamental tank of water sur- 
rounded by plots of flowers and crossed by a 
light iron bridge, and each arch and span and 
flower-bed was oudined in lights, which were 
reflected in the water. The flowers themselves 
were chiefly roses and flowering shrubs, with 
here and there some annuals ; and marigolds, 
of course, were not lacking. The whole may 
be taken as the ne plus ultra of native orna- 
mental gardening. Of grass or lawn there was 
not a vestige. Over all there floated — 

** An amber scent of odorous perfume/* 



204 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THAT hot weather pest, the koel, has 
begun to practice its scales in the 
garden. 
" Brain fever I Brain fever 1 
Brain fever I " it screeches, each stanza higher, 
and more out of tune than the last, till it ends 
in an agonizing shriek. Not only does it 
torture one's ears, but it recalls horrid memories 
and raises dreadful forebodings of punkahs and 
fatties and general scorching. 

Waterfield, in his Indian ballads,has attempted, 
vainly, methinks, to render the koel poetical — 

** Oh, youths and maidens, rise and sing 1 
The koel is come who leads the spring ; 
The buds that were sleeping, his voice have heard, 
And the tale is borne by each nesting bird. 
The trees of the forest have all been told. 
They have donned their mantles of scarlet and gold. 
To welcome him back they are bravely dressed. 
But he loves the blossoming mango best/* 

We have had two or three storms, which 
mean the ushering in of the heat A grand 
thing is a tropical thunder-storm by night ! 
How the thunder rolls and reverberates for 
hours continuously, and the lightning, so vivid 
and so blue, flaring up the room every few 
minutes like day 1 

20S 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Yesterday, in my bedroom, I slew an enor- 
mous spider, as large — ^toe to toe — as a sheet of 
notepapen I also evicted several frogs, bent 
upon taking up their hot-weather abode under 
the cool recess of a cabinet in the drawing- 
room. How I sympathize with Pharaoh and 
the Egyptians ! 

There was a full moon last night, and a 
gorgeous night it was — "of cloudless climes 
and starry skies" — ^grasshoppers and frogs in 
full blast. I sat up late in the verandah 
enjoying the cool, and watching, but in vain, 
for the light flashes from the marigold and 
nasturtiums which Darwin writes about. 

" One evening," he says of Mr. Haggren, 
the French scientist, "he perceived a faint 
flash of light repeatedly dart from a marigold, 
and, to be assured that it was no deception of 
the eye, he placed a man near him with orders 
to make a signal at the moment he observed 
the light. They both saw it constantly, at the 
same moment. The light was most brilliant 
on marigolds of an orange or flame colour, but 
scarcely visible on pale ones. The following 
flowers emitted flashes more or less vivid in 
order : — 

" The marigold. Garden Nasturtium, Orange 
Lily, and African marigold. From the rapidity 

206 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

of the flash and other circumstances, it might 
be conjectured that there is something of 
electricity in the phenomenon," 

I watched, as I say, in vain. Perhaps the 
season was unsuitable. Mr. Haggren, Darwin 
says, remarked the phenomenon in Europe, 
" in the months of July and August at sunset 
and for half an hour later, when the atmosphere 
was clear ; but after a rainy day, or when the air 
was heavy with vapour, nothing of it was to be 
seen." Here, in India, sunset, or half an hour 
after sunset, would be a most unpropitious 
moment. It is the time when the natives of 
all castes are busy cooking their one and only 
meal, and the atmosphere of the compound is 
laden with the peculiarly offensive smoke of 
their cow-dung fiiel. 

Last night we were at an outdoor evening 
party at the Very Great Sahib's. He boasts 
one of the few real grass lawns in the place. It 
cometh up like a flower each autumn, by dint 
of much toil on the part of the patient l^Aisii. 
But in April the hot wind passeth over it, and 
it is gone ! The party may have been said to 
have been given in honour of the lawn, for it 
was prettily lit up, native fashion, with hundreds 
of litde coloured lamps. We had the cavalry 
band, and a nigger entertainment by British 

ao7 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

soldiers. Some people thought the sitting 
about on the much irrigated lawn might pro- 
duce fever, and I felt it chilly in spite of a fur 
cloak. Yet I am now obliged to have the 
house shut up from lo a.m. to 5 p.m. ; and 
even then it is 76® at noon, and I have begun 
to ride at 5.30 a.m. 

A lovely bunch of big orange-red roses had 
been sent me from my next-door neighbour's 
garden to wear at the Very Great Sahib's party. 
The Turks attribute the colour of the rose to 
the blood of Mahomet, I find. The Chinese 
plant roses on graves. According to Persian 
. folk-lore, the nightingale utters a plaintive cry 
every time a rose is plucked. Attar, a poet of 
Persia, has a tale of how all the birds appeared 
before Solomon, and said that they were unable 
to sleep because of the midnight wailing of the 
nightingale, and of how the latter, when ques- 
tioned, confessed that his love for the rose was 
the cause of his grief. But here, in the plains 
of India, with the roses all around one, scenting 
the air and rejoicing the eye with a splendour 
unknown in other lands, I find no traces of this 
oriental romance hanging about them. The 
brain-fever bird's » shrieks replace the love-lorn 
notes of the nightingale 1 



io8 



^^^^^■^ 



My Gurden in the City of Gardens 



<* Farewell I a word that must be and hath been — 
A sound which makes us linger — ^yet — farewell I " 

THE punkahs are upl The kuskas 
grass tatHSy the therm-antidote, and 
the punkah-pulling coolies have 
taken possession of my verandah. 
My days of enjoying it are over, and only 
the nights are left to me ; for the hot weather 
has come on suddenly. It is 8i^ to 83° in 
the house ; 105^ in the west, the sunny veran- 
dah, at 5 p.m., and 96^ in the east verandah 
at the same time. The hot wind scorches 
my face when I drive out at 6 p.m. 

" In spring a young man's fency lightly turns 
to thoughts of leave I " 

It is the one burden of conversation as one 
sits at the bandstand or the polo ground, or 
watching people melt themselves at tennis. 
Every one is flitting home or taking houses 
in the hills. The convalescent detachment, as 
it is called, of white-faced invalid soldiers, 
young recruits, and whiter women and children, 
marched away down the Mall days ago en route 
for a hill sanatorium. The women, strange to 
say, in most cases were loth to leave "the 
regiment, which is their home, their society, 

209 p 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

2nd they were grumbling over the joumejr, after 
the manner of dieir kind. They are more or 
less a poor feckless folk, their English physique 
enfeebled by the dimate, and their moral fibre 
enervated by the unwonted possession of a 
servant or two. 

India is the land of partings. And yet, after 
all, partings are with us more or less all our 
lives. They are of many kinds. Lovers part 
broken hearted ; at least, for a time. Married 
couples part, assisted by their lawyers. School 
girls part sadly, like Amelia, from the Miss 
Pinkertons, in floods of tears, and with promises 
to write, and write often. We part with a civil 
housemaid at the conclusion of our visit, with 
the boots at the hotel, but our parting is miti- 
gated by the expectancy, or uncertainty as to the 
value of our tip. We part with old servants 
despairingly, convinced we shall never know 
again where anything is kept. We part with 
old clothes, especially old boots, with a wrench. 
We all part with our money with r^et. A 
boy's earliest parting, does not he recall it, 
fraught with the irrepressible tear, and with 
secret misgivings as to Latin declensions and 
future switchings, but yet not unmitigated by 
the delightful possession of his first watch, and 
the fleeting joys of his first hamper I 

2IO 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Painter, historian, and actor have immor- 
talized partings — St. Paul and the Elders on 
the Asia Minor beach, Charles L and his 
children at Whitehall, Napoleon and the 
swooning Josephine at Fontainebleau ; and it 
must ever be a moot point if partings are 
more painful to take part in than to witness. 
Of the former, every one can recollect the pang 
— when the great liner slid away from the tender, 
the trooper glided from the quay, the shrill 
shriek of the engine pierced our hearts, and the 
clang of the railway bell sounded like a knell. 
Or again, when in the hush of a glimmering 
dawn, the candle burnt low in the socket at the 
bedside where we watched. Finally, we know 
that to one and all of us must inevitably come, 
at the last, the " great divide." 

Yet the involuntary spectator suffers not a 
little from the saying of good-bye. It is part 
of the price we pay for the pleasures of travelling. 
It haunts every landing stage and railway plat- 
form. How often, ensconced in our corner 
behind our newspaper, have we not been in- 
commoded, both physically and mentally, by 
the long drawn-out farewell at the carriage 
window I How inane sound the oft-repeated 
last words, the effusive endearments, the final 
messages for the absent, the reiterated injunction 

211 



My Garden in the City of Chrdene 

to " take care of yourself I ** How we have 
longed for the guard to wave his flag^ for the 
whisde to shriek 1 How fervendy have we not 
wished that the individuals concerned would 
imitate the example of Byron, the poet of part- 
ings, and his nameless fair, and part at least 
silendy, if not in tears 1 

Ever since Homer parted Hector and 
Andromache, poets have positively revelled in 
partings. Around ^* farewell " Shakespeare has 
written some of his mightiest scenes. With 
both English and German versifiers it is a 
specially favourite theme. Language is such 
a help I " Parted " rhymes so conveniendy 
with " broken hearted,** and scheiden with beiden. 
After all, who knows how much of poetic senti- 
ment is not an af&ir of vowels ? 

All this moralizing is the outcome of the 
threatened departure of Belinda with her parents 
to "the hills.** Young Sabretasche and the 
" Scilly Islanders* ** nice boy have been sitting 
several consecutive mornings wailing into my 
sympathetic ear. I shall miss Her Minxness 
myself muchly. 



ais 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



MY wolf nurselings are no more ! 
One by one the evil-looking 
atoms succumbed. Perhaps it 
is as well. Had they attained 
maturity they must have been destroyed. One 
can never trust a wolf. 

In this topsy-turvy land the deciduous trees 
on the Mall are now shedding their foliage — 

« Boughs are daily rifled 
By the dusky thieves. 
And the Book of Nature 
Getteth short of leaves.** 

But en revanche they are flowering beautifully. 
The tall semal^ or cotton tree {Bombox mata" 
baricum)y is disporting itself in large < scarlet 
blooms like huge water-lilies on its bare branches. 
The ddhk {Butea frondosa) has arrayed itself in 
orange-and-flame coloured flowers with brown 
velvet cups and stalks. The millingtonias {hor- 
iensis)y each side of the road between me and 
Belinda's bungalow, are scenting the air with the 
delicious white waxy blossom with which they 
are snowed over. The lilac-tree acacia is a joy 
to look upon. Another large tree has brought 
forth the purple passion flower. Every one 
knows the pretty lore of the passion flower, 
connected with the suflTerings of Our Lord. 

ai3 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

It pleases me that mine should be in flower 
this— Holy Week. 

** The leaf symbolizes the spear. 

" The five anthers, the five wounds. 

^' The tendrils, the cords and whips. 

" The column of the ovary, the pillar of the 
cross. 

^' The stamens, the hammers. 

" The fleshy threads within the flowers, the 
crown of thorns. 

"The calyx, the glory, or nimbus. 

" The white tint, purity. 

" The blue tint, heaven. 

" How the flower keeps open three days ; 
St. Matt. xii. 40, or the three years' ministry." 

But puritanical old Parkinson thought other- 
wise in 1640. 

" Some superstitious Jesu-ites would faine 
make me beleeve that in the flower of this plant 
are to be seen all the markes of Our Saviour's 
Passion ; and therefore call it the Flos passionis : 
and to that end have caused figures to be drawn 
and printed with all the parts proportioned out, 
as thornes, nailes, speare, whippe, pillar, etc., in 
it, and all as true as the Sea burnes, which you 
may well perceive by the true figure, taken to 
the life of the plant, compared to the figures 
set forth by the Jesu-ites." 

214 



My Gurden in the City of Gardens 

The bungalows are vying in colour with the 
roads. A full-scented dematis, and the bigpnia 
grandifloray with its orange trumpet-shaped 
flowers, are swarming up the verandah trellis. 
The Bougainvilla spectabilis^ with its handsome 
downy stem and leaves, and magenta and pale 
pink flowers, flourishes, as doth the trailing 
moonflower, a giant convolvulus, asleep during 
the hot hours of daylight, but starring at night 
the pillars of the entrance with its large white 
blossoms. 

All these large blooms are the haunt of the 
tiny bee-eaters and humming-birds. I see 
them darting in and out of the blossoms like an 
animated flower, or a mere tuft of iridescent 
colour with a bill at the end of it. Especially 
do they aflFect my pink-and-white paper-flower 
shrub. 



ais 



APRIL 



** Proud pied April, dressed in all his trim." 



APRIL 

' ■ III II ,1 

THE hot winds are in full blast 
Before them the English seeded 
flowers and vegetables, "scorched 
by the brand of the blinding heat," 
have gone down shrivelled. Only the native 
vegetables will yet awhile hold up their heads. 

I am writing in a darkened room, the white 
wings of the punkah flying overhead and rustling 
my paper. My verandah is sloppy. Ever and 
anon comes the M/5// with his goatskin, and hurls 
its contents at the fast-drying kuskas grass fanis 
fitted into each of the window-doors. He 
likewise drenches the therm-antidote, which 
whirls in the dining-room door. From the 
north verandah roof swing the soda-^water 
bottles and the wine bottles, in wet baskets, 
to keep cool. From 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. the 
house is hermetically sealed. It is 80^ in the 
room as I write, and 100^ in the shaded 
verandah outside. 

Last night I had my bed carried into the 
garden, thinking with Francesca that — 

^ Better than tossing in that vacant room 
Is this cool air and fragrance of the dawn.'* 

2x9 



\ 



My Gnrden in the City of Gardens 

The jackals kept waking me with their 
yeDs ; but, indeed, a sudden chill, necessitating 
a blanket, did come on before daylight. 

** Air is coming — 
Ah I 
Atlfttt, 
Delietout. 
There is mercy from the West,** 

as Mariamne's Jewish maidens gasped 

And this is April I What will it be in June 
before the rains come ? 

*< Oh I to be in England, now that ApriFs there ! ^ 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's ay fix>m Italy 
is echoed from India by her listless, whitefaced, 
gasping countrywomen. 

The loquAts are ripe, a most delicious fruit 
For mine are the grafted kind, and the seeds 
inside have been reduced to a minimum. 
But my grapes are a failure.' It is very 
difficult to grow any so far down country as 
this. 

Afterwards I stood over the malli^ as he 
sowed the hot-weather and rainy seeds — ^portu- 
lacas, marigolds, and the ipomeas cmruleay Bona 
NoXy and grandiflora. 

The Bauhinia alba^ or white KachaVy is in 
flower ; also the Vahlii^ rampant creepers with 

220 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

ornamental foliage and loose panicles of whitish 
flowers. 

The Captain Sahib has started a quail-pit 
in a corner of the garden. One's appetite is 
already jaded, and the everlasting chicken 
begins to pall. So, besides shooting all he can 
among the tall crops, he buys them alive from 
the quail-bagger, who snares them at this season, 
and brings them round in a basket for sale. 
In a little cavern, larger below than above, are 
imprisoned, to fatten, these nice little round 
quail. It distresses me, however, that the 
pretty little things have to be kept in the 
dark pit, or they would fight, like the Kilkenny 
cats, to extermination. 

We have had what Our Paddy calls a 
"ghreat" morning pig-sticking, a rare event 
round Lakhnao. In the boar-hunting season 
those who qan, get away, train some forty miles, 
and go out with the Khinpiir Tent Club, one 
of the best in India, and have fine sport in an 
ideal country, with plenty of pig preserved for 
them. But this part of Oudh — the garden of 
India — is too closely cultivated to give pig 
the covert they most afifect. But when His 
Royal Highness came out to India he had 
some good sport shown him on the Onao side, 
the spot whence Sir Colin Campbell's victorious 

321 



My Garden in the City of Gnrdens 

army advanced to the Second Relief of the 

city. 

This morning of ours was due to a rumour 
of a boar seen near the Red Road Swamp, 
brought in by his myrmidons to the Mighty 
Nimrod. Thanks to a timely Hindoo festival, 
the Mighty One was free for one day from the 
stuffy atmosphere where he is pent toiling for 
his prospective pension and K.CS.L He 
kindly sent word to the Captain Sahib and Our 
Paddy. By sunrise the next morning we had 
driven the eleven miles to the meeting-place, 
where we found the Rajahy and my pony 
awaiting us by the roadside. 

Do not expect me to tell of a serious day 
after pig, with a line of elephants to beat, a 
couple of hundred coolies, and many riders 
told off into parties of four. This was an 
informal afiair, just an hour or two's riding 
before break^t, three spears all told, and self 
to canter about behind, and not to get in any- 
body's way, including the boar's. I had 
donned my thinnest habit, with a thick wadded 
padding tacked down my spine, and a wadded 
curtain added behind to my enormous pith 
mushroom hat, to protect the nape of my 
neck. I must have looked a shade top-heavy 
on the pony, but no one thought anything 

222 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

of appearances. The men wore white-drill 
breeches and cotton coat, made of the same 
material that I use for dusters for the house, 
and affected cork headgear various. 

Khoodha Bux, acting in collusion with the 
Might Nimrod's shikari^ had caught some 
dozen villagers, armed them with sticks and 
tomtoms (drums), and driven them into the tall 
jungle of Sara grass beyond the jhil. The 
Captain Sahib on Rajahy staunch to pig as 
are all Arabs, took up a position at one corner 
of the covert, and the others on the far side. 
The sun was barely up, but already made itself 
felt, and a heavy haze, prophetic of the coming 
heat, hung about the horizon. The beaters 
formed line, and began to beat down the covert, 
raising, quite as much in self-<iefence as in the 
interests of sport, a fearful din. Unarmed and 
almost unclothed, the desire to drive off, and 
out, any boar whose tusks might be lurking in 
the thick grass within a foot or two of their 
bare legs, filled them with zeal and ardour. 
They yelled, they banged their sticks and their 
tomtoms, they shouted derisive epithets to the 
boar and his ancestry. Mingled with the din 
came the whirring and the whirling of firightened 
winged creatures — peafowl, partridge, quail — 
rising in haste, and flying startled from their 

223 



My Garden in the City of Gurdena 

roosts in every direction. But we sat our 
horses motionless as statues ; the men, lance 
in rest. The tension was intense, likewise the 
horizontal rays of the sun upon one's back. 
Our only thought and care, however, what if 
the Mighty One had received a lying message 
from one of his prophets, and that there were 
no stray boar in the Red Road Jungle after all ? 

Suddenly there came a lull. You might, so 
to speak, have heard a pin drop, as a fine black 
boar with vicious-looking tusks, trotted solemnly 
out of the covert, in no particular haste, and 
with a degagi manner, as if he had not a gallop 
in him. There was something so contemptuous 
in his gait, so sniffy and supercilious a look 
about his mouth, that even I felt a longing to 
go for him. Some such eflect I have known 
certain persons have upon their fellow-men. 
Swift produced it, I feel convinced ; likewise 
Voltaire. 

The Captain Sahib gave the boar a fair start, 
and then let the Rajah go. Simultaneously 
round the corner shot the Mighty Nimrod 
upon his Waler (Australian horse). The 
Rajah needed no urging, but the Waler had 
the legs of the litde flea-bitten grey Arab, and 
led across the open waste till the pig turned 
shsix^ly— jinked^ is the term. The Thaler would 

324 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

not face him, and swerving, let in the Arab, 
who knew no fear of the beast of the fearful 
countenance, and the Captain Sahib "rode" 
piggy till the latter, getting blown, lost himself 
in a wheat crop. The pig had squatted, to 
again use the authorized expression. I now 
rode up to find a momentary lull and in- 
coherency. 

Suddenly there was a shout on my right. 
Before I was aware a huge black mass, thirty- 
three inches at the shoulder, with bristles erect, 
and murderous-looking tusks, came bearing 
down upon me in a literally white heat, for he 
was foaming at the mouth. The boar was 
charging. 

Being defenceless, I incontinently turned and 
fled, putting my pony at his best pace. No 
one who has not seen a wild boar gallop can 
realize the speed at which they go. Apparently 
they "galump" along, heavily and woodenly, 
like Alice*s White Knight But mark him 
lollop across the open, while a sixteen-hand 
Waler toils after him in vain ! See him hop 
ungainly over an eight-foot water-course, which 

the horse lays himself out to take. So I 
galloped. 

But at that moment Our Paddy came up on 
his handy little country-bred with a true Irish 

225 Q 






My Crarden in the City of Gardens 

yell, and went for the boar. Piggy returned 
the compliment, charging viciously. A good 
boar this, a warrantable boar, bent on showing 
sport. Evidently an old gentleman of uncer- 
tain temper, crossed in love, perhaps, who had 
betaken himself, in cantankerous mood, far from 
the maddening herd, to bachelor quarters in the 
Red Road Jungle. 

Paddy made a job at him, but, missing him, 
struck his spear heavily into the ground and 
rolled over, man and horse, alighting on all 
fours within a foot of piggy's snout. Piggy, so 
overcome with surprise at the unexpected sight, 
gallops off. Paddy picks himself up none the 
worse, though the ground is like iron, and we 
all urge on, the Waler now leading again. 

We had got among crops over a mud wall 
or two, when a peculiar scent, reminding one 
of one's nursery days, filled the air. Piggy 
had disappeared into a tall crop of green bushes 
— z castor-oil field. H ere the Waler lost ground 
and the Arab came up. With a thrill of rapture 
I, waiting on the outskirts, heard my Giptain 
Sahib's joyful shout, and knew that he had 
taken first spear. A mere pin prick, piggy not 
a penny the worse, but enough for glory. Bravo, 
" Rajahy Rajah^ staunch and true 1 " 

The merry chase sped on. I galloped, he 

226 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

galloped, we galloped all three. As pig-sticking 
countries go, this was by no means a typical one, 
not very rough, only an occasional nullah or dry 
crack in the ground, a miniature canon, open- 
ing suddenly beneath the horse's forelegs of the 
unwary. For the most part it was crops ; the 
only danger, open wells ; and so it suited the 
Mighty One's Waler. It was he who rode 
piggy to a standstill, and when 1 came up I 
found him squatting in a mimosa patch under 
a prickly thorn — squatting defiantly on his 
haunches, snarling and foaming at the mouth. 

Even the Rajahy the Rajah who has been 
known to bother the Captain Sahib by striking 
at a charging pig with his forefeet, did not quite 
seem to like the looks of him. It was Our Paddy 
who jumped off and dealt him on foot his quietus 
in that vulnerable spot where the spine joins the 
neck, and then the brave coolies all rushed in, 
and assisted to despatch the ruthless marauder 
of their crops. 
• When that horror was over I rode up to look 
at him. A fine grizzled old boar, weighing 
some hundred and fifty pounds, with bristles 
like wire, and tusks looking terrible, even in 
death, to the half-naked beater or the horse's 
flank, who might so easily have come within 
their reach, 

227 



My Gurden in the City of Gardens 

I turned away. By the necromancy of the 
Mighty One, a table had arisen in the wilderness, 
not more than a mile or two ofF, and we were 
soon revelling in iced drinks and subsequently 
in breakfast. 

We drove home as through a furnace. But 
litde we cared ; for what a morning we had 
had I Fox hunting is not in it with pig-stick- 
ing, as any one who has ever ridden spear in 
hand over an Indian maidan will agree* I 
marvel that in these days when, at the beginning 
of every season, there comes a chorus of dismal 
croakings from hunting men and the sporting 
papers about the decadence — nay, even the 
threatened extinction — of our national sport, 
I marvel that so few of them try pig-sticking. 
From all sides come rumours of M.F.H.'s 
giving up counties, and lamentations of hunt 
committees who are at their wit's end to replace 
them. Hard winters, dry springs, paucity of 
foxes, and superabundance of wire, go to heap 
up the woes of hunting men. They feel thut 
they do not get enough fun for their money. 

But when March dust begins to fly, and the 
"stinkin* wi-lets" pervade the sunny air, I, 
who have tried it, even vicariously, as it were, 
spearless, would bid them hie away eastwards 
to the land of the Tent Club, and .go tilt a 

228 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

spear against the great grey boar on the sun- 
baked plains of India. Now is the time, the 
lull of sport in England, the dreary days be- 
tween the end of the hunting and the beginning 
of the shooting season. A two or three weeks' 
journey, by no means uninteresting in itself, lands 
you in the land of the spear. Once there, as a 
globe-trotter and a free agent, not the wretched 
official tied by the leg to one district, you choose 
your country, with due deference to your nerves 
and powers of " going,'* and also to your capa- 
bility of enduring the heat. As for the latter, 
every year we learn better how to fight it. To 
the adult Englishman fresh from Europe, as 
yet unpoisoned by malaria, in these days of soda 
water and ice companies, of therm-antidotes 
and hygienic clothing, it forms no insuperable 
obstacle, especially if he can flee from it when- 
ever he feels inclined. Common sense and 
abstemiousness will bring their rich reward in 
the utterly indescribable — to those who have 
never experienced them — joys of pig-sticking. 

As to a "country," you pay your subscrip- 
tion and take your choice. The Calcutta Tent 
Club (so the " hunts " are called which preserve 
pig and arrange meets, etc.) is a veteran one, 
I believe nearly half a century old. The meets 
are few, and the country almost entirely heavy 

229 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

high grass, but the sport makes up in quality 
what it lacks in quantity. Ahmedabad is, I 
think, the oldest tent club in India on the 
Bombay side. The country is not so difficult 
as some, and the sport is increasingly good. 
With the Poona Club you may toboggan over 
sheet rock in an open country, and get excellent 
sport with a long spear. Along the canal 
and river-bed regions of the Khinpdr, Delhi, 
Mirath, and Mathi^ra dubs, more in the north, 
you get splendid days, armed either with the 
long or the short weapon, and there is no scarcity 
of pig. At Lihor in the PanjAb, you will ride 
over tall grass and forest ruhk lands. In the 
Allihdbdd and Morar country the going will 
be among treacherous cotton soil and over low 
rocky hills. Nearly everywhere you will find 
obstacles, not in the shape of regular fences so 
much as mud walls, on-and-off Irish banks, 
wells, ravines, water-courses. In March and 
April the largest dubs hold their pig-sticking 
competitions, such as the Ganges Cup and the 
Kadir Cup. 

The open-air life, the combination of free- 
dom, independence, and luxury — for tent 
clubs, which provide tents and catering at 
their meets, do it luxuriously — would make 
a pig-sticking trip most enjoyable. The 

230 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

excitement is so great. There is, first, the tre- 
mendous tension of being " posted," as silent 
and motionless as possible, at some suitable 
spot where the pig will break covert. Then 
the fiiteful signal to " ride." There is a world 
of wood-craft and sport-lore in the word, as 
one pursues the boar lobbing across the plain at 
a pace so deceptive to the eye, and clearing 
obstacles, often hidden and unexpected, which 
test the powers of a good fencer. It is steeple- 
chasing, hunting hounds, and riding to hounds, 
all rolled into one. You have to " ride " your 
quarry, but you have to watch him, too, with 
as quick, yet steady, an eye as if you held a 
rifle instead of a spear. What is " 'ware wheat " 
and " 'ware wire " to " 'ware " a deep rocky 
nullah suddenly opening beneath your horse's 
nose, an unsuspected, unprotected well, yawning 
in your face, or an innocent-looking patch of 
dark tilled soil revealing itself a perfect trap — 
melon-beds — into which you sink, horse and 
miy like the Master of Ravenswood ? 

What going across country in England can 
compare with the interest of a sudden, crafty 
jink on the part of the boar as you come up 
with him, or the wild excitement of the charge 
of the plucky beast, foaming, bristles erect, and 
which you meet with a spurt to your horse and 

231 



My Grorden in the City of Gardens 

a downthrust of your spear ? What so glorious 
as a neck-to-neck race with a fellow-sportsman 
for ** first spear " ? The wild boar of India 
can be the nastiest tempered beast alive, but he 
is so courageous, makes such a fight for his 
life, and dies so game — so difiicult, so dangerous 
to despatch — that one cannot help admiring 
him after all. 

Every year the communication with India 
grows more easy and quicker. Every year in 
England, apparently, men are willing to spend 
more money on hunters, moors, or pheasants. 
Every year they go further afield for sport. 
Surely the time will come when sportsmen will 
have a string of pig-stickers in the Kadir country, 
or run over for the Ganges Cup, much as they 
now take a house in Leicestershire or go to 
Scotland for the Twelfth. 



232 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



YESTERDAY evening we drove 
round, through the Martiniire 
Park, and wandered about the 
mansion of Constantia, " a sort of 
castle," says the Hon. Emily Eden, rapturous 
as usual, " in a fine, jungly park, built by an 
old General Martin, who came out to India a 
private soldier, and died worth a million. I 
wish we had come out in those days." It is 
the oldest European residence in Lakhnao, 
dating from the last decade of the eighteenth 
century, and takes its name from the motto 
on the coat of arms on the library ceiling, 
** Labor et Constantia." 

Claud Martin was the son of a cooper at 
Lyons, who enlisted at sixteen, and went out 
to India as a dragoon under Lally, being ship- 
wrecked en routCy and who fought the English 
for ten years. After the capture of Pondi- 
cherry, " Claud Martin," says his friend 
Hawksworth, in the " East India Chrono- 
logist," "since so justly celebrated for his 
courdy manners, threw himself on the muni- 
ficence of the English." A deserter, as his 
calumniators have averred, Martin could never 
have been. Otherwise he would have had no 
power to will away estates in France, as he did 

233 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

at his death. The truth is that, when Clive 
had practically driven the French out of India, 
some of their troops were enrolled in the Com- 
pany's service. Martin got a commission, came 
up northward in pursuit of the notorious Dyce 
Sombre, made friends with the Nawab Vizir 
of Oudh, and was allowed to settle as super- 
intendent of his arsenal at Lakhnao, where he 
began to develop his two passions, speculation 
and education. He himself had shown taste 
for mathematics and science at the College of 
Lyons. We now find him helping a friend to 
send his boy to school at Calcutta, and sub- 
scribing to the Charity School Fund there. 

Martin fought against Tippoo Sahib at 
Seringapatam, in charge of the commissariat, 
and it was during that Mysore campaign that 
he says that he '^ took particular notice of a 
sort of long grass which the cattle were vora- 
ciously fond of, which is of so strong and 
aromatic and pungent a taste that the flesh of 
the animals, as also the butter and milk, have a 
very strong scent of it." Of this he collected 
the seeds, and as the Andropogon martini^ it is 
found in abundance round Lakhnao, notes 
Roxburgh in his " Flora Indiae." 

General Martin also introduced into Bengal 
the Mysore thorn, Ccesalpina sepiaria^ for fences. 

234 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

" This, when in full bloom, is ornamental, and 
well deserving a place in the gardens of all such 
as are fond of showy productions," he writes. 
^Mt also makes an excellent fence, and as such 
was much employed by Haider Ali in the bound- 
hedges of his forts." 

Roxburgh says he also introduced into the 
Company's Botanical Garden at Calcutta the 
Cordia latifolia and Ficus caricoidesy both up- 
country trees, as well as the Andropogon milt" 
aceus and the Artemisia elegans. Further, he 
examined into indigo when in Madras, and is 
reputed to have made a great part of his wealth 
out of its cultivation in Bengal. 

So, agriculturalist, gardener, commander-in- 
chief, and chief political adviser to the Nawab, 
architect, gunsmith, bell caster, ordnance founder, 
collector of engravings, educationalist, and a 
delightful, hospitable host, Martin lived to a 
green old age on the banks of the Gumti, build- 
ing palaces and planting parks. Lord Teign- 
mouth stayed with him in 1797 at the 
magnificent Farad Baksh, erected half on piles 
in the river, and " boats passed under the room 
in which we dined." The Farad Baksh was 
afterwards sold to the Nawab Vizir, and became 
the king's palace, on the splendours of which 
Miss Eden dilates. 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Claud Martin's last years were saddened by 
the war in Europe between his native land and 
the race of his adoption. When the English 
merchants at Calcutta subscribed to aid England 
in her struggle against Napoleon, General Claud 
Martin did not join with them. 

The mansion of Constantia was not finished 
at his death. Fearful lest Asufu-daulah, who, 
it is said, had offered one million sterling for the 
palace, should seize it when he was gone, the 
wily old general had himself buried in the base- 
ment, knowing no Mohammedan would venture 
to inhabit a mausoleum. At the Mutiny an 
ungratef\il mob, unmindfUl of how much 
Lakhnao and Oudh had owed to him, broke 
open the tomb and scattered the bones. But 
these were reverendy replaced by the British, 
and the figures which guard it repaired. In his 
latter days the old soldier's thoughts had turned, 
as a Frenchman's ever do, back to " la belle 
Francey^ and the four French grenadiers still 
stand with drooping heads and reversed arms, 
keeping an eternal watch over their comrade, 
though the tapers for which the general left 
money, and which Lord Combemere's aide-de- 
camp saw burning in 1 833, are now extinguished. 

General Martin died worth forty lacs of 
rupees. Thirty years were spent proving his 

236 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

will. Three nations benefited by it. In Lakh- 
nao he freed his slaves, pensioned oiF numerous 
dependants, and left the Constantia as a school 
where boys were to be taught the English 
language and religion. Hundreds of poor 
European and Eurasian lads have cause to bless 
General Martin, and not only at Lakhnao. 
At Calcutta and Chandenagore he ordered 
Martiniere colleges to be erected, and he did 
not forget the city of his birth. A Martiniere 
stands at Lyons on the Saone, as well as on the 
Gumti and the Hooghli. 

A very winning personality must have been 
his, judging from the bust on the facade of 
Constantia — a thin, powerful face, with large, 
deep-set eyes, and a strong nose. There is a 
picture of him on the walls of the Shah Najif 
by a native artist. General Martin, tall and 
slim, sits on a couch, clad in uniform coat and 
white ducks and black slippers, on his head a 
close white wig. He is watching a cock-fight, 
surrounded by Asufu-daulah and his court, 
and the British Resident. His friend, Hawks- 
worth, wrote of him as ^* that brave, ambitious, 
fortunate, and munificent Frenchman." Warren 
Hastings calls him " a brave, experienced 
oflicer, and a man of strict honour." 

The park of the Martiniere is no longer 

237 



My Grorden in the City of Gardens 

"jungly," but one of my favourite drives. 
The gardens and the whole demesne is now 
well kept up, as I am sure he would have 
wished it. When I pass the happy schoolboys 
in their white pith hats at play, I find it in my 
heart to forgive the old Lyonnais for the wonder- 
ful conglomeration of dome, arcade, terrace, and 
rampty Moorish kiosque crowned by classical 
statues, round tower supported by rampant 
lions, Corinthian pilaster, and Tuscan column, 
in which he has housed them. 



238 



^ 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



THE *'01d Colonel" came to call 
yesterday, clad in his durzee-made 
jhiratij or duster, suit and Terai 
hat. For he is a perfect salamander 
and scorns a sun-helmet. He is quite one of 
the old rSgimCy retired long ago, and wearing 
out his days in the land to which he gave his 
best years. He was horrified to find that I had 
made an expedition about the city on foot, 
dubbing it undignified in a memsahib^ and hear- 
ing that I was planning such another, he ofiTered 
to take me thither on an elephant. He has a 
nephew in the Commissariat, who is lord of the 
elephants, likewise of the camels and draught 
bullocks and mules, who are housed in a vast 
caravanserai, beyond the cantonments. 

The elephant, " Lady Canning," ova* ten 
feet high, was awaiting us at the entrance to 
the Silver Street, where I prowled awhile to 
invest in Lakhnao silver-work. The "Old 
Colonel " had been in the final capture by 
Outram, and was a good guide. As we paced 
in solemn and stately fashion through the 
narrow and tortuous lanes, and on a level with 
the flat roofs of the mosdy one- storied houses, 
he had many a tale to tell of the taking and 
the looting of the city. 

239 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

" The rule was," said he, " that all treasure 
trove was to be handed in to the prize-agents, 
but it was a rule more honoured in the breach 
than in the observance. Looting was too tick- 
lish and dangerous work to be carried on 
alone, and the men, aye, and the officers too, 
generally hunted in couples. They rambled 
through the deserted houses, easily passing from 
one to another across the flat roofs. . There was 
always the risk of coming across the rightful 
owner, who, if he found his unwelcome 
visitor unaccompanied, would naturally not have 
thought twice about putting a bullet through 
his head or a knife through his heart. Then 
there were tykhanas^ or underground cellars, to 
be searched, and the space beneath the stairs, 
which often contained a cupboard, mostly 
cemented up as if to defy detection. A knock 
or two would reveal the secret by the hollow 
sound, and then, with the aid of the nearest 
piece of wood or iron, an entrance would be 
effected into the cachcy sometimes to unearth 
real treasure, but more often to find the 
articles were valuable only in the eyes of the 
late occupier and his family." 

"A sealed-up house was the most valuable find 
which fell to the looter," my old informant 
confided to me. " That meant a house which 

240 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

had every entrance cemented up as if to 
deceive the spoiler* A casual passer-bjr might 
imagine that the blank wall belonged only to a 
house with its entrance in the street at the rear. 
The irregularity of Indian buildings made this 
very probable, for houses of rich and poor are 
huddled together anyhow. So it might occur 
that the looter, hurrying on, would leave behind 
him, within a few yards, treasures of great 
value. But when the secret of sealed-up houses 
was discovered, the soldiers would work in a 
gang, one above passing from house to house, 
the others below, rear and front, making good 
every side till they found the door. When 
they could find none, the looters came to the 
joyous conclusion that the house had not yet 
been broken into, and it did not take long to 
effect an entrance and to lock themselves up 
safely inside. It was an exciting moment, that 
inspection, the " Old Colonel " said, and 
he could remember as clearly as yesterday 
one sealed house into which he and a friend 
broke. There was not much jewellery in it, 
but plenty of portable property to appropriate. 
Especially did he recollect that the char- 
poys (native bedsteads) had their legs coated 
with silver. They calmly cut it off with 
their pocket knives, and next day melted it 

241 R 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

into the fonii of small bricks, the better to 
cany it. • 

Another way of securing property against 
marauders was the putting it down the wells. 
But natives were often glad to rob their re- 
latives if they might share in the spoil. Much 
treasure was buried as were King Theebaw's 
jewels during the Burmese war. If this was 
supposed to be the case the water test was im- 
mediately resorted to. It consisted in a mussak^ 
or goatskin, full of water, being poured over 
the spot where the things were supposed to 
be buried. If the soil had been excavated the 
result would be an immediate if slight sub- 
sidence, which would be a sufficient inducement 
to begin digging. It was discovered that, 
however well the earth was rammed down, 
water would always make it lie closer still. 
Of course, occasionally, the treasure was only 
such in name and not worth the trouble. The 
^^ Old Colonel " told me he had once spent 
half a day watching some such unearthing at 
the instigation of a native, and only to light 
upon a number of copper cooking pots. 

The palace in " Caesar's Garden " especially, 
said the " Old Colonel," was a veritable mine 
of wealth whet> our troops captured it, and 
many was the officer who was the richer by 

242 



My Ga/tden in the CUy of Gardens 

much jewellery and pearls when he quitted, 
than when he entered it, while the valuable 
Kashmir shawls were literally piled in the 
arcades. 

But there was a gruesome side to all looting. 
Sometimes the spoiler pushed open a door, 
revolver in hand, only to find a decomposed 
corpse behind it, the sight and smell of which 
haunted him for days after. 

As we paced through the city I must confess 
that I thought the " Old Colonel " right, and 
that I was much better raised above the seething 
crowd below ; also, I could the better study — 

** The gamut of face tints 
That ranges from yellow to tar. 
The pavement mosaic of face tints 
That mottles the Sudder Bazaar," 

and the variegated clothing (or absence of it), 
and inhale less of the awful essence of con- 
densed unwashed humanity, which assailed my 
olfactory nerves. Every now and again we 
were brought to a stop in our progress by the 
passing of an ekka — 

*' A tea-tray on wheels, dear, 
Flies past as its occupants sit. 
Since a pony, you know, never feels, dear. 
All five tugging hard at its bit/* 

Or a palanquin blocked the way, and between 

243 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

its curtains one had a vision of an obese baboo^ 
or the half-concealed inmates of some zenana, 
seeing, but not being seen. 

Once we came to a standstill to allow the 
passage of one of those — 

^ Staid bulls, beloved of the Brahmin, 
Stroll round taking food as they go." 

Above, peering down on us, full of demoniacal 
wickedness, is the ubiquitous crow (does not 
Zaminchus say that devils assume divers forms, 
"sometimes those of cats and crows"), and 
the brown bazaar monkey, as licensed a thief as 
the humped-bull aforementioned, and whom no 
householder would dream of killing, however 
many ghee-smeared chappattis (dough cakes), 
or silver bangles, he pilfered when no one was 
looking. 



244 



MAY 



** The sun bums ever, the plain lies bare." 



MAY 

WHEN Barnefield in his ** Divers 
Humours" wrote, in 1598, of 
the "Merrie month of May," 
and Shakespeare, a little later, in 
his " Passionate Pilgrim," cribbed the quotation 
without acknowledgment, they little realized 
what a mockery their words would seem to 
their unhappy country people in India a couple 
of centuries later. But I can quite sympathize 
with the youths and maidens of Rome who, 
according to Polydore Virgil, took a day out 
in the fields on the Calends of May, and spent 
it in singing and dancing in honour of Flora, 
the goddess of fruit and flower. For I, too, 
could have held festival of rejoicing over the 
tropical luxuriance of my garden, only, un- 
fortunately, we observed May Day by having 
a dust-storm ! The day was dark, and close, 
and cloudy. The " plain was a furnace hot as 
hell." Suddenly, as the sun sank, a brown 
cloud rose swiftly higher and higher in the 
west. With an ever-increasing howl came the 
wind, nearer and nearer, like some fell demon 
about to swoop. Before it drove the birds in 

247 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

flocks, helpless, drifting, rudderless, making for 
the nearest shelter, as a lurid wall of dust rose, 
apparently hundreds of feet high. Then — 
swish 1 — with a roar came the wind through the 
tree-tops, which swayed and bowed, and almost 
flattened. One minute, and the bungalow was 
enveloped with an impenetrable cloud of the 
finest dust. The doors burst open, or banged 
to, the servants shouted, the horses neighed. 
Everything was hidden in mysterious murk, 
an Egyptian darkness that literally could be 
felt. In the house it was ^^ Dark ! dark I dark I 
amid the bkze of noon" — so dark that we 
lighted candles ; I could see no further than a 
yard into the verandah ; beyond was a mere 
brown blur of bent trees. It all came up in a 
quarter of an hour. 

The hurricane passed on. In two hours the 
world was quite still and clear, and felt almost 
cold. Only the verandah was full of dead leaves, 
and the half-written mail letter on the drawing- 
room writing-table was coated with fine dust. 

The Captain Sahib and a friend were riding 
down the Mall when the storm burst. They 
turned the heads of the terrified horses into 
a hedge close by. For some minutes neither 
could see the other for the cloud of dust. 

After the dust storm it was perceptibly 

248 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

cooler, and after the dust came ** the thunder- 
storm against the wind." The clouds rever- 
berated and burst, and the lightning, as the 
Mosaic biographer so forcibly puts it, literally 
" ran along the ground." 



249 



My Cfarden in the City of GtMrdens 



MAY was ever die month of love, 
and the idjU I have been watch- 
ing has now been played to its 
dose. In other words, Belinda 
has made up her mind. She has given her 
" promise of May." With the true grit and 
pluck of the British girl, she is going to do her 
share of empire-making. Away to the winds 
has she thrown the prospect of a season in the 
hills, likewise of young Sabretasche's ancestral 
acres in Loamshire. Captsun Fewse, and a 
possible political future at the War Office, she 
has also declined ; and the nice boy in the Scilly 
Islanders, who had nothing to offisr but his 
honest heart, goes out stalking black buck o'er 
themaUan at noonday, which is almost equivalent 
to suicide. For myself, I have to listen, through 
the sultry hours in the privacy of her bedroom, 
and in the airiest of dishabille^ to Belinda's 
rhapsodies over the stunt Sahib of her choice. 
He is six feet one and a half, is the Assist- 
ant Magistrate. . But that is how the natives 
clip his official tide. 

Belinda's mother is happy. For her prophetic 
soul perceives in her prospective son-in-law a 
K.C.S.I., and a possible apotheosis to Simla. 
But, in between, as I cannot help picturing to 

250 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

myself with a sigh, will lie Belinda's best years, 
and how spent ? 

** Sing a song of sixpence 
Purchased with our lives. 
Decent English gentlemen 
Roasting with their wives, 
In the plains of India, 
Where like flies they die." 

Belinda's pretty colour will fade, and she will 
grow too languid for one of her youth. As 
time goes on her life will be carved out with 
partings — partings with husband, partings with 
children — with the latter, possibly, in the 
saddest sense. 

<< Thou hast tracked him with duns and diseases, 

And he lies, as the scorching winds blow. 
Recollecting old England's sea-breezes, 

On his back in a lone bungalow. 
And the slow-coming darkness repining, 

Hqw he girds at the sun till it sets. 
As he marks the long shadows declining 

O'er the land of regrets.'* 

The Stunt Sahib is a rare good fellow, one 
in a thousand. But I cannot help feeling that 
my beautiful Belinda has been sacrificed. 

" Ave Imperium, morituri te salutant ! " 



251 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 




ILL it weary if I continue to 
prate of the heat ? A slight 
alleviation is the coming of the 
mango. 

** Tht kocl it come, glad newt to bring ; 
On the blossoming mango he rests his wing. 
Though its hues may be dull, it is sweet, oh ! sweet. 
And its shade and its fruit the wanderer greet.** 

There is a pretty Hindoo legend of how 
Kana, the Cupid of Indian mythology, shot in 
vain his arrows, ** blossomed barbed," ag^nst 
Shiva, "the awful god," till, finally, with a 
laugh, he drew forth his last, the mango-headed 
arrow, and — 

*' Oh 1 sharp is the arrowy blossom's smarts 
For the mango flower ne>r missed the heart. 
And the work of the gods is ^irly done, 
And help shall arise out of Shiva^s son.^' 

We do not eat the mangos out of our own 
garden. They are only of the rough ungrafted 
kind, which is sour and turpentiny in flavour, 
pretty and delusive, with its scarlet cheeks 
striped with green. That crop we have sold 
to the malliy but it strikes me that he is not 
guarding it well, for in this weather even*the 
native " Epicurus in his garden was languid. 

252 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

The birds of the air have had more enjoyment 
of their food." 

The natives eat the rough mango, which 
abounds everywhere, planted along the roadside, 
or in carefully planned topeSy or groves, over the 
plain. The sahib devours the grafted kind, a 
glorious luscious yellow fruit, the size of a 
goodly pear, and devours it, for choice, in his 
bath. For the mango is a most difficult fruit 
to eat gracefully. I have iced mango fool 
going at every meal. It is as good as goose- 
berry fool, and in a large place like this, with a 
good ice-factory, there is no difficulty about the 
.ice. The native cooks excel at making ice- 
pudding, and all food has to be kept in ice. 

All the world knows how good mango 
chutney is, the only snack of this luscious 
fruit the poor home-staying Britisher ever 
tastes. 

How one revels in the abundant fruit at 
this season, the — 

« Fruit of all kinds, 
Rough or smooth, rind, and bearded husk ia shell/'* 

Were -we Moslims we should become most 
fruitful in deeds of charity. For they say that 
to eat one melon produces a thousand good 
works. If so, with me they are labours of 

253 



My (jordefi in the City of Gardem 

love ; for I deem it is a most delidous firuit. 
Why in all ages the refreshing melon should 
have been a term of reproach I cannot imagine. 
TertuUian sa]^ of Mardon, the heresiaich, that 
''he has a pumpkin {fep^onem) in place of a 
heart" 

Thersites, the railer, called the Hellenes 
pumpkins (pop'ones). Etre un meloHy in the 
French of to-day, is to be dull of comprehen- 
sion, or ''soft." Avoir un ccmr de meloHj or 
de ciironailky means to have no heart at alL 
The new-comers at St. Cyr are called "Zw 
melonSj* meaning that they come from a hot- 
bed and are delicate. But we who feel aa 
Indian thirst have more respect for a melon 
than the classics or the moderns, and we gloat 
over them, flesh and water, pink and green, 
grown in the Kola muriy or black earth, extra 
rich soil by the well. Twice a day, at breakfast 
and at dessert, we have our melon lottery and 
plunge. For one never knows till one cuts it 
how a melon is going to turn out, witness the 
Spanish proverb — 

** Choosing a melon or maid by the rindy 
A man who has eyes is no better than blind.^ 

The English cucumber is still with us for 
awhile, and the bhootay or India com, has ripened. 

254 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

Before it ripens it makes a delicious savoury, 
boiled, and then fried on toast with butter. 
But the more primitive method is to roast 
the fruit whole, smear it while hot with butter, 
and, holding it in both hands, gnaw the grains 
ofF ! Either way bhoota is most seductive. 

Custard apples are now abundant They are 
the size of an English apple, their sweet and 
luscious pippy pulp granulated outside as with 
an armour oiF stone. 

There is an abundance of dessert at every 
meal, and often one's flagging appetite can be 
tempted by nothing else. 

AnnanaSy as the natives (from the French) 
call pineapple, are brought to us from the 
Botanical Gardens, where they are grown under 
the shade of the mangoes. Our own guavas 
are ripe, a fruit like an inverted pear, rough to 
eat raw, but making excellent fritters, and if 
there is a thing the native cook excels in, it is 
frying. It is quite miraculous the dinners they 
contrive to dish up, squatting over the mud- 
brick stove and fanning the charcoal with a 
palm-leaf fan. For baking they insert a closed 
iron box into one of the holes round the stove, 
covering the box with hot embers, and closing 
the aperture with an iron sheet. I have tried 
making guava jelly, but it was not equal to 

255 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

that which in England comes to us from the 
West Indies. 

Loqudts are now abundant It is a grafted 
fruit like a very large white-heart cherry, red on 
one cheek and yellow on the other, but with 
more than its £dr share of stone. Lichi is 
another odd fruit, with a prickly brown shell 
like a small horse-chestnut, but . inside such a 
transparent fragrant flesh. Then there are 
the pommelos, which only the natives eat, and 
pomegranates, which are such a delusion. 
Imagine a beautiful tree with shining dark 
green leaf and scarlet bloom ; hidden in the 
leaves a gloriously tinted fruit, but tasting only 
of little stones and bitter rind. 

Further, we have with us now the pumpkin, 
or Kadu. Petha {Benincasa cerifera) is a large 
pumpkin ; when boiled and flavoured with 
rose-water or essence, and crystallized with 
syrup, it makes the popvdar Delhi sweetmeat. 
But I cannot away with these native cloying 
bonbons. Lastly, the figs are ripe. 

*' I, who am so little among trees, 
In honey-making mate the bees/* 

But William Morris sings of the European fig. 
I have no fig trees in my garden. It is not 
large enough. So the Captain Sahib, who has 

256 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

the passion for green figs noticeable in some 
folk, has bought the crop in the Padre Sahib's 
fig-garden, a veritable orchard, and eats His fill. 
For it would appear that if you like green figs 
you are hardly ever able to get enough of them. 
He is of opinion that, barring the mango, the 
fig is the best fruit in India. In the parson's 
garden the tr^es stand eight or ten feet high, 
with strong trunks and overhanging arms all 
round, trained so that the fig lover can pull 
them with ease. 

After the fi-uit, drinking is one of the house- 
keeper's most serious questions of the day, aye, 
and of the night, too ; for the nights are 
becoming very hard to bear. But let not my 
temperance brother or sister have a shock. 
There is much less drinking in India now than 
in the bad old pre-railway days, when breweries 
and ice manufactories and soda-water machines 
were unknown. In the British army the 
temperance movement, fostered exceedingly by 
Lord Roberts during his term of ofEce as 
Commander-in-Chief, is now very strong. The 
officers and the men who go in much for 
athletics and sport and the consequent necessary 
training, find temperance very essential. How 
different this to the bygone days the " Old 
Colonel " was yarning about, when he joined 

257 s 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

and got some twelve steps in promotion in 
two years owing to his senior's dipsomaniac 
proclivities ! 

But in the hot weather, when the hot mnd 

parches every pore in one's skin, the imbibing 
of much liquid — soda-water, quinine tonic (soda 
and quinine), lemonade, milk and soda, etc, etc 
— both night and day, is a necessity. Nature 
kindly provides limes in abundance at this 
season. We have some sour lime trees in the 
garden, and I find them more efficacious in 
quenching thirst when mixed with soda-water 
than the sweet kind. The trees grow about 
twelve feet high, and the fruit is hard and green, 
the size of a golf ball. 



258 



..Jm 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



MY garden has been the scene bfs 
unwonted festivities. For two 
entire nights and days we have 
suffered from a wedding in the 
compound. My ayah has been marrying oiF 
her only child, Sakhina, aged ten, a plain little 
mortal, who has been wont to haunt my bed- 
room verandah when her mother was busy 
over her vocation within. Matchmaking in 
the East, though materially assisted, I believe, 
by the official agent, is by no means crowned 
with success, as with us, when the happy day 
has been fixed. Ayah had many difficulties 
to surmount and preliminaries to arrange. In 
the first place, she borrowed of me three 
months* pay, about ^^3. Natives often cripple 
themselves for years by nuptial festivities. 
Then she had to obtain permission from the 
magistrate, the colonel, and ourselves, for the 
merry-making to be held in our compound, 
for everybody and everything in cantonment 
seems under martial law, as it were. One may 
not put up a chicken house without leave. 
Much less may the natives hold a tamasha 
(festivity) with its accompanying din. Finally, 
a shemianahy or awning, was hired, and erected 
in a waste corner near the stables and the 

259 




My Garden in the City of Gardens 

servants' huts. After dinner we were invited 
to go and look at the dancing. We found 
assembled a crowd of servants and bazaar folk, 
everybody's "uncles and cousins and aunts," 
more Hindoo. Our bearer brought two arm- 
chairs. Another functionary spread a carpet, 
and we installed ourselves in the place of 
honour among the audience to watch the 
gyrations of a couple of naufch'-girh in very 
diaphanous and gaudy muslin. Certainly ayah 
did the thing in style. These ladies were hired 
at as much as seven rupees a night. It was 
even as when one secures a Covent Garden star 
for an ** at home " in the London season ! In a 
slow, luscious, snake-like manner, the dancing 
was really very pretty and graceful. It con- 
sisted less in steps than in posturing and in 
movements of the hips and arms. But, after 
awhile, it waxed exceedingly boring. 

The bridegroom was the hero of the evening. 
He was an ill-favoured young man about thirty, 
who squatted cross-legged, surveying the nautch^ 
clad in scarlet and other delights, and his face 
nearly hidden in white flowers. Ty^ro men 
brought us his trousseau in a basket and 
exhibited it with much pride. It consisted 
chiefly of pale pink muslin jackets and knicker- 
bockers. I prompdy recognized the material of 

360 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

which they were made. It was that of my old 
discarded window curtains and toilet table 
drapery, which had passed through the dye pot 
and assumed some of the soft art tints the 
natives are so clever at evolving. The bride- 
groom was dressed up and exhibited, but we 
wanted to see the poor little bride. She had 
been crying, we were told, for two or three days 
past in anticipation of the suspicious occasion. 
We found her in one of the little mud hovels 
which was assigned to her mother in the row 
of servants' huts. As it was much too gloomy 
inside to see her properly, they threw a white 
muslin veil over her (another of my old curtains) 
and brought her forth in a woman's arms. 

About ten o'clock we went indoors to bed, 
though I cannot say we slept. At three in the 
morning began the wedding breakfast, for once 
in a way, a correct designation ! It consisted 
of a whole sheep, of unlimited unleavened 
cakes, and a princely quantity of arrack. An 
orchestra was provided in the shape of a tom- 
. tom, which seemed never to cease, and two sorts 
of fiddles. Altogether, as the society newspapers 
would say with us, the whole aflair was done 
regardless of expense, and set me wondering in 
what form of perquisites ayah will seek to 
recoup herself for the outlay. I must keep an 

261 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

extra sharp look-out on my wardrobe and my 
trinkets. 

The following day, Sakhina was removed to 
her husband's village, borne in a red-curtained 
dhooli^ but subsequently was brought back again. 
In three years* time she will return thither for 
good, and be incarcerated for life in her hus- 
band's back yard. For it is a good match ; he 
is headman of his village, a sort of small farmer, 
and she will be a purdah woman. I fear she 
will often look back with regret to her child- 
hood's days in my garden, where she ran wild 
and free, keeping the servants' depredating goat 
out of arm's length of the maWs stick. 

Poor little, brown Sakhina of the straight, 
oily locks, my mind forebodes me for you ! 
But Sakhina, full of the superstitions of her own, 
recks not of the evil reputation of May as a 
marrying month, even in Ovid's day — 

<' Mense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait." 

Few Western maidens have the courage to fly 
in the face of old proverbj 



" Marry in May is to wed povertaie." 
** Marry in May, you'll soon be laid in clay.*' 
" Marry in May, you'll rue the day." 

May is the month of Mary, but its name is 

262 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

more probably derived from the Latin " Maius, 
to grow," than from Maia, the mother of 
Mercury. In most European languages, as 
with the Dutch, who call it " Blon Maaud," it 
is the " blossom month." The Roman Lemur- 
alia, or Feasts of the Dead, were held in May. 
Old prejudices die hard. The early Christians 
dung, perhaps almost unconsciously, to many 
of the old beliefs, and even when the mediaeval 
church dedicated the month to the Blessed 
Virgin, and the weird associations of the pagan 
festival were renewed, the people went on be- 
lieving that to marry in May was to wed in a 
time of national mourning. Sakhina cares for 
none of these things. But Belinda's wedding 
is not to take place till June. 



a63 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



T 



HE hot wind has withered up my 
poor roses, and it has been quite 
a business cutting off the dead 
heads. 



<< Rom, elle a vecu ce qui rivent les roses 
L'espace d'un madn." 

Ida has carried off my geraniums with her to 
the hills. Would that I had gone with them ! 

Quite an occupation for me in the very early 
morning lately, on returning from my ride, has 
been the standing over the maUi and seeing 
him take the cuttings of the poinsettias, Utlfer- 
tuemontana^ tecomaSy hibiscus, and layer the bou- 
gainvillas. 

My daturas (with which native wives manu- 
facture a poison for undesirable husbands) are 
very handsome now, two or three feet high, 
with large trumpet-shaped fragrant flowers of 
pink and white, purple, white, and golden 
yellow. 

The lagerstroemiay or crape-tree bush, is a 
mass of delicate pink flowers, and the chdndree^ 
or moonbeam jasmine {tabem^efnontana)y is 
beautiful with its snow-white flowers, and the 
Allamanda neriifhUay with yellow cups in its 
dark green oleander-like leaves. It does very 

264 




My Garden in the City of Gardens 

well here, as we never get any frost in the 
cold weather. 

Down the Mall, the Cassia fistula has been 
gorgeous with showers of pale, or lemon yellow 
blooms on its leafless boughs. The milling- 
tonia trees are sending up suckers from the 
root, and I am planting some out separately. 



265 



JUNE 



" And the day shall have a sun 
That shall make thee wish it done.'^ 



-*■ 



JUNE 

TO-DAY we have married ofF Belinda, 
beautiful, though white as her wed- 
ding-dress from Calcutta, We 
married her at 6 p.m. Even then 
the heat seemed unbearable. The hot wind 
scorched one's lungs, and the world seemed 
one vast furnace-blast as one drove to church. 
She was married under the waving punkah, 
with an accompaniment of the whirl of the 
therm-antidote fixed behind the altar. Our 
Padre Sahib fanned himself the while with a 
palm-leaf. I myself found the punkahs detracted 
a little from the solemnity of the service — pun- 
kahs everywhere, over each seat, pulpit, reading- 
desk, and in the chancel. My attention was 
further diverted by, the peregrinations of the 
toads, which, encouraged by the wet coolness 
engendered of the therm-antidote and the tanis 
in the doorways, likewise attended the cere- 
mony, hopping up and down the chancel-steps, 
to the great delectation of the whitey-brown 
choir-boys from the Martiniire College. They 
tell me Belinda looked sweet, but I only caught 

269 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

fitful glimpses of her between the white swing- 
ings of the punkah. 

We toasted them in the wine of France, and 
feasted on oysters from Bombay, and the 
Alsatian goose's liver ; we strewed the drive 
with my most gay and gaudy blooms as 
her slum Sahib drove her oflF in his dog-cart, 
down the darkening Mall, across the sluggish, 
shrunken river, over the plain, to the old white 
palace in the mango grove, deserted since the 
batde, save by honey-mooning couples of the 
conquerors. 



270 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 




« ^ GREAT length of deadly days," 

has begun— deadlier than Swin- 
burne wot of. To-day it was 
1 14° in the shady verandah, and 
despite all my care and appliances, never less 
than 95° in the rooms. 

From seven in the morning till eight in the 
evening I have the house closely shut up. It 
is dark and dismal. I loll about in a loose 
white muslin dressing-gown, unable to sleep 
much, growing weary of reading. There are 
no callers, for the place is very empty. Every 
one who can, has got away. 

To-day, for a wonder, there was no wind. 
Instead, a breathless, suffocating heat, with a 
thick overpowering haze, night and morning. 
When the wind does not blow the tattis will 
not work. So the state of a room unblessed 
by a therm - antidote may be more easily 
imagined than described. 

The evening drive is such a delusion. Clad 
in a loose muslin dress I drive out at 6.30. 
Happily, in India, there is not so much differ- 
ence in length of the day at different seasons. 
What would a long English June day be like ? 

When the carriage stops at the bandstand, 
one feels as if sitting close in front of a big 

271 



My Cfarden in the City of Gardens 

kitchen fire. After dinner we camp out on the 
drive in long chairs, and the heat of the thick 
darkness seems aknost tangible. Yet, all this 
while, the other sex lives and moves and has 
its being — on very early morning parades, in 
stuffy court houses all through the hottest 
hours, on the war-path after black buck over 
the plain at noon, on the tennis court, or the 
polo ground at sundown. But we women-folk 
seem simply to exist. And hardly that. What 
of the children ? 

The nights are even more unbearable than 
the days. The room is 95°. Under one the 
bed burns like hot bricks. Only a strip of 
Chinese matting on the top of the mattress 
makes it endurable. I lie prone with ice on 
my head, and get up and wander in the garden, 
amid the overpowering whirl of the cicalas. 

Some wretched folk are tortured with prickly 
heat at this season. It breaks out all over the 
body, surely the most irritating complaint ever 
mortal flesh was heir to i It is supposed to 
ward off fever. But some people get fever 
too ! 

At last, the first faint glimmer in the east, 
which the orientals call the " false dawn," has 
been succeeded by a yet deeper spell of dark- 
ness, which, in its turn, has given place to 

272 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

unmistakably coming twilight, and the " stillest 
hour of night and day." I rise, about 4.30 
a.m., don a white cotton riding habit, and sip 
my tea in the verandah, a long-handled palm- 
leaf fan waved over me. 

*' Now fades the last 
Star to the East, a mystic breathing comes, 
And all the leaves once quivered and were still. 
It is the first, iaint stir of the dawn. 
So still it is that we might almost hear 
The sigh of all the sleepers in the world." 

This is the only hour of the twenty-four at 
which I can now enjoy my garden. Yet the 
flowers and creepers are beautiful. Anything 
more lovely, for instance, than the tone of the 
colour of the sky-blue tpomea^ the ccerulluy a 
blue convolvulus, eight feet high, cannot well 
be imagined. 

The pacing of the Rajah breaks the hush. 
I mount the smooth-paced Arab, and jog round 
the gray and hazy racecourse. 

But the hour is so short. Up comes the 
sun — a fiery ball in the east — and, with it, the 
hot winds. 

" The sun beats aflame on your faces." 
You are hunted indoors to the haven of the 
therm-antidote. 

Forthwith the station becomes deserted. 

273 T 



My Garden in the City of Crardens 

The very natives fly to their huts — they can 
always sleep — ^and die dust-devils are left in 
possession of the road outside — the glarings 
flaring, shinunering road — and whirl up and 
down, whipping up dust and straw and dead 
leaves into a veritable Danse Macabre. 



274 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



I AST night, unable to endure any longer 
the weariness which cannot sleep, 
J I got up and wandered into the 
-^ garden. It was one of those nights 
which are among the most glorious things in 
this country — 

<< The moon above, with its fiill-orbed lustre, 
Lifting the veil of the slumberous land." 

The "hare in the moon," as the Hindoos 
say, instead of the " man in the moon," gazed 
down upon me so brilliantly that I could have 
seen to read. Yet the shadows were inky 
black : Nature robed in a golden vesture 
patched with black velvet. A long cane chair, 
forgotten overnight, stood at the foot of the 
verandah steps. I let myself sink into it and 
lay quite still. 

Suddenly, something grey seemed to slink 
between me and the deep dark of the orange 
grove — something larger than a pariah dog, 
more dignified than a jackal, yet with slouching 
gait and tail carried low. It turned and looked 
on me as it passed. I thought I saw a fang 
gleam in the moonlight. 

The wolf, ryot legends tell, strikes dumb 

275 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

those on whom, in the moonlight, it turns its 
face. Also Virgil — 

** Vox quoque Moerim 
Jam fiigit ipta i lupi Moerim vid*re prio*res.'* 

Thus far, however, I have escaped. " Wolf 
madness " has not yet supervened, as the 
groom can testify, when, an hour or two later, 
I went to the stables to mount, and found him 
stealing the RajaKs forage. 

The Wild Man of the Woods, pitying my 
parched condition, has sent me a present of 
wild apricots from his beloved Himalayan 
forests. I am half tempted to try with them 
a quaint old recipe I lighted on the other day 
in a cookery book, dated before 1 656, entitled 
^* To make Jumbals of Apricocks or Quinces." 

^* Take apricocks or quinces, and coddle 
them tender ; then take their pulps and dry it 
in a dish over a chafing dish of coals and set 
it in a store for a day or two ; then beat it in 
a stone mortar, putting in as much sugar as 
will make a stifFe paste ; then colour it with 
Saunders* cochinde, or blue starch, and make 
it up in what colour you please ; rowl them 
with battle-dores into long pieces, and tie them 
up in knots, and so dry them." 

A trifle involved, and also a little tiring at 

276 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

this season to " rowl with battle-dores." But 
the temptation to try the recipe out here is 
strong, for old Gerard in his " Generalle 
Historie ofPlantes," 1633, says of the Saunders* 
tree — 

^^It Cometh from the East Indies, and is 
much used for its red colour. It has a fruit 
the bignesse of a cherrie, which falleth in the 
winde/' 

I have not a notion what the old fellow is 
alluding to, but I feel an irresistible desire to 
go on the quest of the "Saunders* tree** — 
when the thermometer is lower. 

There is little to be done in the garden when 
now the hot winds hold their saturnalia. All my 
poor verandah ferns and palms and tender things 
have been hidden away in the thickest shade, 
with saucers under them kept perpetually full 
of water. The beds in the garden are being 
got ready for the rainy season show ; the 
cuttings of ipomeaSy convolvulus, zinnias, and 
marigolds have been put in, and I have some 
balsams sown. 



277 



.- "^ 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 



** Up to the hilk I lift mine eyes, from whence cometh my 

•aJvation.** 

yA NOTHER night of horror, but joy has 
/^L come in the morning I For the 
/ ^ Captain Sahib has got his leave, 
^ ^^ and we arc off to the hills ! What 
that means can be better imagined than de- 
scribed. But the journey has no terrors for 
me, for does not the Terrestrial Paradise lie' 
beyond it ? 

Dusk. — ^The thermometer in the oven of a 
railway station, I20^. One's throbbing brain, 
addled from sleepiness that cannot sleep, has 
scarcely been able to grapple with the time- 
table. Yet a languid feeling of joy pervades 
one as one gets into the train, mingled with an 
equally languid pity for those who are always 
left behind. I mean those railway employes 
whose lives are spent in the hot brick barracks 
that cluster round every large station, or in 
flying through the furnace air in black holes of 
brake vans, or on gridirons of engines. No 
wonder some die in harness every hot weather 
of heat apoplexy and the like. 

The Padre Sahib, when he called to wish us 
good-bye, cheerfidly told us he had buried 
yesterday two heat apoplexy cases out of the 

278 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

train, and begged the Captain Sahib to take care 
of me. It is very unusual for Europeans, and 
especially women, to risk the long journey in 
June, before the rains fall to mitigate the heat. 

But courage. We are armed with a box full 
of ice and soda-water bottles. Wet towels enve- 
lop my head as I lie, dad in a white dressing- 
gown, on the pillows the bearer has arranged 
on the long leather-covered seat. 

One lies gasping, too feeble almost to agitate 
the little palm fan in one's hands, praying for 
the starting of the train, and with it the machine 
punkah. An odd feeling oppresses one's head, 
as if an iron band were being slowly tightened 
round it That way lies heat apoplexy. The 
burning sirocco tears down under the corru- 
gated iron roof of the station, and every breath 
one draws scorches one's lungs. 

I never heard a more blessed sound than the 
blue cotton-coated coolie clanging on the bar 
of iron that does duty for a beU. The train 
moves, and at last, outside, silence. The jab- 
bering of the natives is hushed. They and 
their moving bundles of clothes, their wives, 
have been pushed forcibly into their proper 
compartments — fourth class, and purdah. The 
baboo station-master's and the whitey-brown 
guard's chee-chee has ceased. It seems almost 

279 



My Grorden in the City of Gardens 

too rapturous to be true. We are really^ off 
to the hills, rumbling along through a night 
dark as Erebus, and as suffocating as the 
sulphurous pit. At intervals the lights of 
mud villages twinkle through the gloom, 
and occasionally there comes another awfiil 
pause at a station, more jostling, jabbering 
native travellers, more frantic shouts for water, 
more clanging of bells. That night will 
ever remain in mj memory as an awful 
nightmare : for Indian tr^s are slow, the 
stoppages numerous, and the number of 
natives who seem to want to travel surpasses 
belief. 

After several hours of torture an unkind dawn 
reveals the thirsty, gasping land in all its ugli- 
ness. The " plains all bare save the shadow of 
death." It also shows me how b^^imed I am 
with dust Then there came a blessed half-hour, 
just a suspicion of coolness. I think I slept. 

But all too soon I am ag^n conscious of our 
Tyrant. The dreaded sun is up. For the next 
twelve hours he has us in his dutches, and turns 
us into mere gasping forms of burning flesh, 
too exhausted even to think. It is really quite 
an eflbrt, but an effort well repaid, when at sun- 
set one looks out to see in the East a cloudy 
oudine fringing the copper sky. Now, if never 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

before, did one feel the glad yearning of the 
Psalmist. "Up to the hills I lift my eyes, 
from whence cometh my salvation." 

But there is more to be got through. To a 
day spent in an oasis of cool, a friend's bunga- 
low, stretched under the therm-antidote, succeeds 
a hideous night jolted like a pill in a pill box in 
a ddk gharry. This instrument of torture is 
like nothing so much as a bathing-machine, inside 
which one's bearer spreads the piUows and rugs 
without which no European travels, and in which 
one is rattled along at fuU length, the driver 
perched in front, one's domestics and goods and 
chattels heaped on the roof. The result, top- 
heaviness, painfully apparent when the relays of 
melancholy ponies, tied in by an arrangement of 
ropes, are induced afresh at every stage by the 
driver and his satellites into an irregular gallop. 
A merciful darkness hides from one's enfeebled 
nerves the yawning ditches on either hand, as 
one lurches on through the night, pursued by 
a pillar of dust 

It grows distinctly cooler, for we are in the 
Terai. This is the wide strip of jungle and 
forest which lies at the foot of the great moun- 
tains, a dread tract — 

*' Faint with the fierce disease 
Of the deadly jungle swamp/' 

281 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

at once the Paradise of the sportsman and the 
Lair of the Fever Fiend, who strikes down those 
who, at certain seasons, venture to penetrate into 
his Forbidden Land. 
But the night passes — 

'^ In the light of day 
If a mighty mountain dim and grey. 
Which between the earth and sky doth lay,** 

barring one*s progress. Presently dark shapes 
rise also on either hand, and the road comes 
suddenly to an end. One is at the very foot 
of the hills. 

The dim light is full of cool freshness, the 
delightful, long-missed sounds of chirping 
birds and of running waters — 

** The rippled feet and the eddying fall 
Of a snow-fed river cool and creaming/* 

And now the male traveller bestrides a pony, 
while she of the weaker sex is borne aloft h la 
Guy Fawkes, in ?LJampan (armchair with poles), 
on men's shoulders. With every step the air 
grows more champagne-like. The sun peeping 
over the forest-dad peaks flickers the stony path. 
You actually welcome his appearing, buttoning 
your coat, and, for the first time for many 
a long week, think wistfully of breakfast. 

What a difference a mile or two has made I 

282 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

One is really in the hills ! The Himalayas 
come down so sheer to the plains that it is 
almost possible to determine the exact spot 
where they rise. And what a shape, what a 
contour, has this, the youngest of mountain 
ranges I 

The path winds upwards under stately 
deodars and hoary ilex, flanked by tall rhodo- 
dendron trees dyeing the hillside crimson. 
Down the gorge to the right tumbles the river, 
half hidden by granite precipices, and a crowd 
of tiny unseen torrents and waterfalls answer it 
from the hills around. Peak after peak of 
purple mountain opens up before one. 

<< Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise/' 

The koel calls cuckoo-like across the valley. 
The cowbells jingle from upland pastures. 

Excelsior ! with many a whack and impreca- 
tion on the part of its attendant, hanging on to 
the tail of the sturdy hill pony. Onward and 
upward, what though the dandy bearers pufF, 
perspire, and grunt. (And these hill folk only 
wash once a year, on their holiest festival !) 

Far, far below and behind, lie the hated 
plains, shimmering in the haze of heat, with 
broad, white river-beds and dark patches of 
forest. 

283 



My Garden in the City of Gurdens 

Excelsior I Little white specks of houses 
shine out on the mountain-side. A series of 
interminable zigzags, a turn into the cup-like 
valley, and one has gained the Terrestrial 
Paradise ! 



^84 



■ ■. ■ — -~*^--.^^i|y-^ , y 



My Garden in the. City of Ga/rdens 



IDA has found a house for us. "You 
will miss your garden," quoth she, as 
she introduced us to the little chalet, 
perched on the steep hillside, a tiny 
terrace cut out in front, wide enough to turn 
zjampan in. 

But what care I } The world spread out 
before me, fold upon fold of mountain, green 
and beautiful, is one wide garden. 

A sheer drop from the terrace I look down 
upon a gnjirled old ilex, groaning under hang- 
ing orchids, mauve and white, dressed from 
head to bole with moss and feathered with 
parsley fern. 

<< Bearded with moss and in garments green 
Stands like the Druids of old, 
Stands, like harper hoary, with beard that rests on its bosom/ 

The shady cleft in the hillside behind the 
house is clothed with hart's tongue, poly- 
podium, and male fera; a little further 
on, where the slope is less steep, spreads a 
carpet of maidenhair and silver fern, dotted 
with pale pink begonias, and the graceful 
wild ginger Scents the air with its lily-like 
flowers. 

Ida has smother^ the wee drawing-room, 

285 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

and the dinner-table, in roses and tuberoses, 
and gladiolus, and with this wealth of ferns no 
room can look mean. 

The rosy rhododendrons are passing away, 
and their fallen petals dye blood-red our 
little approach— drive I cannot call it, where 
wheels are unknown. 

Some bygone tenant must have tried to 
garden the tiny terrace, for convolvulus, nas- 
turtiums, and single dahUas are running rampant 
over the wall. 

A great sun is sinking over the Terai in a 
glory of crimson and gold. Mysterious lights 
and shadows are flitting over mountain and 
forest and gorge — 

** Where the mighty cliflfi are frowning 
Far o'er the torrent's ^1, 
And the pine and the oak stand crowning 
The ridges ..." 

As I drink my fill of so much beauty, my 
eye falls again on the dahlia bank, and Maund's 
words come back to me — 

" The dahlia becomes an object of interest 
to every one who possesses a garden, unless 
that person be one whose mind is so chained 
down to Mother Earth that he never can raise 
an eye of satisfaction upon the beauties of her 
vegetable kingdom. These pourtray tdo much 

386 



My Garden in the City of Gardens 

happiness, too much of a spontaneous loveli- 
ness of Nature to meet ever the placid 
contemplation of some few — very few — 
morbific souls." 



THE END 



TWO ILLUSTRATED CLASSICS 



\ 



By gilbert WHITE 

THE NATURAL HISTORY OF SEL- 

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By IZAAK WALTON and CHARLES COTTON 

THE COMPLEAT ANGLER. Edited, with 

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over 250 Illustrations and Cover-design by Edmund 
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A BOOK ON DOGS 



Bt CHARLES HENRY LANE 
ALL ABOUT DOGS. A Book for Doggy 
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nearlj 70 diampMu} bj R. H. Mooke. 




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u 



BOOKS ABOUT GARDENS 



Br HAJOIY ROBERTS 

THE CHRONICLE OF A CORNISH 

GARDEN. With Seven lUuftrationt of an Ideal 
Garden hy F. I.. 3. Griggs. 

Price 5fl. net. Crown Sto. Price $1.50 ncC 

71^ LUtnuy Wprld.—'*'Tht Chromde k writteD in m, fiank, an- 
afccfd style, and will vggtu useful ideas to other garden loverk" 

Tks BmkmA 
isweU 



, — **ll is written with cmoe and kaoerfodgCp and 



Br Mm. LESLIE WILLIAMS 

A GARDEN IN THE SUBURBS. With 

Eight lUttstntiona. 

Price 51. net. Crown Sro. Price $1.25 net. 

Tkt Wtatmnnater CmaetU.—** Tht writer knows her subjects and 
co n vey s her facts in an interesting manner, ... the mmber of hints 
«4uch she gives about the buying at pfauits are especially valuaUe. . . .'* 



By tu Rxt. canon ELLACOMBE 

IN MY VICARAGE GARDEN AND 

ELSEWHERE. With a Photogravure Frontispiece 
of the Author. 

Price 58. net. Crown 8vo. Price $1.50 net. 

Tkg DmUy Ckr9mieli»'^**Out is not often fortunate enough to come 
moo a scholar in a fknrer garden, but Canon EUaoombe has a qiwlity 
of his own." 

Tk€ Acmdem^, — "Canon EUaoombe writes of gardens as one who 
knows, and his latest book has a practical Taloe. He deab with his 
subject in a manner which indicates close observation and genuine 



Bt Mm. MILNE-HQME 

STRAY LEAVES FROM A BORDER 

GARDEN. With Eight lUustrations by F. L. B. 
Griggs. Price 5s. net. Crown Svo. Price $1.50 net. 

Thg DaSv CkrotdcU,--*' It is just th« sort of book to read as one 
swings in a hammock ' nndemeadi thei bough ' in the delightinl summer 
afitemoons." 

The Daily J\rra«.^"The garden thread runs through it all, and it it 
a charming book with plenty of hints to be pidced up.*^